Remembering two airmen from Budisov and Hodov

Vzpomínka na Františka Horkého a Leonharda Smrčka – letce RAF, kteří bojovali ve druhé světové válce.

In Memory of RAF airmen who fought in World War II: František Horký and Leonhard Smrček

V letošním roce 2018 si připomínáme řadu významných výročí v historii země. Rád bych čtenářům Zpravodaje přiblížil vzpomínku na účastníky 2. světové války letce RAF /Královského letectva Velké Británie/ z Budišova a Hodova, kteří se oba z války domů nenavrátili.Jejich osoby nám připomínají jména na pomnících v Budišově, Hodově i jinde a dále již uskutečněné vzpomínkové akce, avšak jejich místa posledního odpočinku se nacházejí mimo republiku.

The Czech Republic commemorated several very important anniversaries in 2018. I would like to bring to your attention two Czechoslovak RAF airmen from Budišov and Hodov. Both of them lost their lives during the second war. Their names are commemorated on war memorials in Budisov, Hodov and elsewhere in their home country but their remains were buried abroad.

Již delší dobu jsem si přál navštívit hrob strýce Františka Horkého staršího bratra mého otce Stanislava Horkého.Hrob se nachází ve Velké Británii ve městě Lowestoft na pobřeží Severního moře.Fr.Horký z Hodova nar. V r. 1917 po absolvování vojenské služby v r. 1937-1939 se rozhodl odejít bojovat proti nacistům.Psal si o své cestě zápisník s řadou detailů o přesunech přes Maďarsko ,Jugoslávii, Blízký východ až do Francie a nakonec lodí do Anglie. Nebyl sám, kdo se z našeho kraje rozhodl odejít bojovat. Ještě ve Francii se František setkal s Leonhardem Smrček kamarádem z Budišova. Jejich setkání a část rozmluvy zachycuje snímek z rodinného archivu Zdeňka Smrčka.

Visit to my uncle’s grave had been on my wishlist for a long time. His name was František Horký and he was my father’s Stanislav Horky elder brother. His grave can be found in Lowestoft cemetery on the east coast. František Horký was born in Hodov in 1917. After his compulsory military service (1937-39) he’s decided to escape from the occupied country and fight Nazis from abroad. When he escaped he started a diary and recorded many of details of his journey through Hungary, Yugoslavia, Near East, France and then sailing to England. He wasn’t the only man from our region who made that decision. In France, he met Leonard Smrček his friend from Budisov. In a photograph from the Smrček’s family archive, you can see them in conversation.

L.Smrček v tmave letecké uniformě, Fr.Horký ještě v původní táborové uniformě.
Leonhard Smrček in his dark pilot uniform; František Horký still wearing the camp uniform.

Ze vzpomínek mého otce uvádím, že otec bratrovi před tajným odchodem z republiky pomáhal mimo jiné shromaždovat např. kovové mince, protože ty ještě v zahraničí platily.

My father told me a story of him and his brother collecting the coins for the journey since Czechoslovak banknotes lost had no value but coins were still accepted abroad.

To také v době heydrichiády mělo neblahé účinky.Mnozí byli internování ve Svatobořicích u Kyjova,/otec Alois Horký i rodina Smrčkova/, nejstarší bratr Alois jako radioamater dostal za odbojovou činnost v Brně trest 5 let v káznici v Německu. Bratři Josef a Stanislav byli totálně nasazeni na práci v “Říši”.

My uncle’s decision to escape abroad had disastrous effects for the family after liquidation of Reichmashall Heindrich in 1942. In the days after Heindrich death were many people interred in the camp at Svatoborice u Kyjova and one of them was Frantisek’s father Alois Horky. The oldest brother of my uncle, Alois as a radio amateur was sentenced to 5 years of jail in Germany for his resistance activities. His brothers Josef and Stanislav were send to “Reich” for conscripted slave labour.

Strýc František se v Anglii přihlásil k letectvu a jako radista ze základní služby v československé armádě byl postupně odborně vyškolen a přiřazen k 311. bombardovací peruti RAF. Absolvoval následně lety na bombardéru Welington jako radiotelegrafistu a palubní střelec .Již v prosinci r. 1941 obdržel vyznamenání za chrabrost.

Uncle Frantisek joined the RAF in England and as a former Czechoslovak army radio operator was trained and attached to RAF 311 Czechoslovak squadron. He served on Vickers Wellington bombers as a radio operator and air gunner. In November 1941 was recommended for the Za chrabrost medal for his bravery.

Obecně v té době platilo, pokud měli letci nalétáno dostatečné množství hodin, pak bývali přeřazení na jinou činnost.Fr.Horký byl později přeřazen k pozemnímu vojsku a v listopadu r. 1942 ve městě Leamington zemřel. Pochován je v městě Lowestoft na centrálním hřbitově v časti, kde se nachází hroby dalších také zahraničních vojáků padlých nebo zemřelých ve válce.

There was a regulation in those days that required all airman to undertake a different service when his operational period was completed. Frantisek Horky was attached to the Army and died in Leamington in 1942. He was buried in Lowestoft cemetery in a WW2 section dedicated to Allied soldiers.

Fotografii pomníku v Praze na Klárově přikládám, zde jsou jména kamarádů z mládí z Budišova a Hodova opět pospolu.
The memorial in Praha-Klárov. The names of the two old pals from Budišov and Hodov are together again

V r. 1990 byl František Horký povýšen na podplukovníka in memoriam.Jeho jméno je také vytesáno na pomníku letců v Praze Dejvicích i vyryto na pomníku s okřídleným lvem na pražském Klárově stejně jako jméno L.Smrčka, jehož letoun byl při bojovém letu sestřelen.

In 1990 František Horký was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel rank posthumously. His name is inscribed on the Czechoslovak airmen memorial at Prague-Dejvice and engraved on the Winged Lion memorial at Prague-Klárov. The same memorials commemorate L. Smrcek who died in action during an operational flight over Holland.

Hrobu Františka Horkého v Lowestoft.
The grave of František Horký at Lowestoft.

O hroby vojáků je ve Velké Británii velmi dobře pečováno. Řada dnes již potomků našich vojáků, kteří zůstali nebo se vrátili po válce do Anglie se také soukromně o hroby stará. Letos v září jsme se s mou rodinou vypravili na krátkou cestu do Londýna. Vlakem jsme mimo jiné s několika přestupy,se zpožděním jednoho spoje a ujetím přípoje „během jedné minuty“ nakonec dorazili do přístavního města Lowestoft.

War graves are very well tended in Britain these days. Many of our soldier’s descendants who stayed or returned back to Britain after the WW2 tend these graves too. With my son, we made a short trip to London this year and after a little adventure, provided for free by the British railway company, we made it to the little coastal town of Lowestoft.

Měl jsem štěstí, že díky získaným kontaktům s klubem veteránů RAF jak v Česku tak v Anglii i díky sestřenici Jitce a její dceři Jitce z Brna jsem se seznámil s Tomem Doležalem a Peterem Nahodilem, kteří oba žijí v Anglii.

I was lucky to find contacts in England provided by Czech RAF veterans club. Thanks to my cousin Jitka and her daughter Jitka from Brno I was introduced to Tom Doležal and Peter Nahodil who both live in Britain.

Peter Nahodil je m.j. nejmladším synem letce Karla Nahodila z Třebíče, který byl také letcem 311.perutě RAF a který má nedávno odhalenou pamětní desku na radnici v Třebíči. P. Nahodil žije blízko Lowestoft a díky jemu jsme na velkém hřbitově hrob strýce Františka Horkého brzy nalezli.

Peter Nahodil is the youngest son of Karel Nahodil from Trebic, a former 311 Czechoslovak Squadron airman. A plaque with his name was recently unveiled on the town hall in Třebíč. He lives not far away from Lowestoft and thanks to his help we have found our uncle’s grave easily.

Byl jsem rád, že jsme s mým synem Filipem mohli u hrobu strýce Františka ponechat naši vlajku, do trávy vsypat hrstku hlíny z jeho rodného domu z Hodova získanou již od nových majitelů domku a společně zavzpomínat.

I was really happy to visit my uncle’s grave with my son leaving, there a small Czech flag and a small quantity of soil brought from the garden of the house in Hodov where was my uncle born provided by it’s new owners. We have also spent a quiet moment together to commemorate his life.

Nejen v tuto chvíli si člověk uvědomuje, jaká to byla odvaha a hrdinství těchto mladých mužů dokázat odejít od svých milovaných blízkých a vydat se do neznáma bojovat za ideály svobody a to i s vědomím toho,že jejich návrat do vlasti není jistý.

Such moments remind us of the bravery and courage of these young men who left their loved ones and set out for unknown foreign countries fight for freedom and sacrifice their lives.

Stejně jako Leonhard Smrček zůstal po sestřelení letadla v Holandsku , tak i František Horký zůstává pochován daleko od svého rodiště. Jsem rád, že si pamatuji na naše předky.

Leonhard Smrček’s remains were buried in Holland and also Frantisek Horky was buried far from his birthplace. I am happy to remember our forefathers.

Aleš Horký
Praha / Budišov u Třebíče




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311 Sqn – Vzduch je nase more 24





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IBCC – Lincoln


The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) at Lincoln, UK, with the Walls of Names, was unveiled on 12th April 2018. It serves as a point for recognition, remembrance and reconciliation for those who died whilst serving with RAF Bomber Command during WW2.

12. dubna 2018 bylo v Lincolnu, ve Velké Británii, otevřeno The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC). Jeho součástí jsou i Walls of Names, zdi, na nichž jsou uvedena jména všech padlých letců sloužících za druhé světové války pod Bomber Command RAF. Centrum bylo založeno jako místo, kde můžete poznávat historii Bomber Command, připomínat jeho statečné muže a tiše na ně vzpomenout.

The Memorial Spire, central to IBCC, commemorates the airmen who served in RAF Bomber Command during WW2. Of the some 125, 000 airmen who served, 55,573 died. It is now recognised as the UK’s tallest war memorial.

Memorial Spire, štíhlá věž v centru IBBC, připomíná letce, kteří sloužili pod Bomber Command Britského královského letectva v letech druhé světové války. Z celkového počtu přibližně 125 000 mužů jich padlo 55 573 (ztráty dosáhly 44,4 procent). Je nejvyšším válečným pomníkem v Británii.

The Walls of Names surround the Memorial Spire in a series of panel circles framing the view of the City with a focus on the City’s ancient Cathedral, which served as a sighting point for RAF bomber crews flying from Lincolnshire during WW2. For many of the men named on the accompanying walls, the Cathedral provided their last sight of Britain. Each panel is formed from engraved sheets of Corten Weathering Steel.

Walls of Names, které ji obklopují, rámují výhled na město s ústředním bodem tvořeným středověkou katedrálou. Zdejší katedrála byla místem, které nejvíce přitahovalo oči posádek bombardérů odlétajících za druhé světové války z Lincolnshire, a pro mnohé z nich, jejichž jména najdeme na zdech pomníku, to byl poslední výhled v Británii. Každý panel se skládá z plátů vyrobenych z corten oceli

The Wall consists of 271 panels with the names of the 55,573 – a loss rate of 44.4% – RAF airmen, from 45 nations, who lost their lives serving in Bomber Command during WWII. The IBCC is the only place in the world where all these losses are commemorated.

Zeď je tvořena 271 panely se jmény těchto 55.573 letců RAF pocházejících ze 45 zemí, kteří položili své životy za druhé světové války ve službách Bomber Command RAF. Každý panel je složen z kovových desek vyrobených ze speciální COR-TEN oceli. IBCC je jediným místem na světě, kde jsou všechna tato jména připomínána.

Whilst 311 Sqn was deployed in Bomber Command when based at Honnington and East Wreatham, between 29 July 1940 to 18 April 1942, 114 of its airmen were lost and are remembered on the Walls of Names.

Od nasazení 311. československé bombardovací perutě pod velením Bomber Command, která působila mezi 29. červencem 1940 a 18. dubnem 1942 na základnách v Honningtonu a East Wreathamu, došlo ke ztrátě 114 jejích mužů.

Those 114 Czechoslovak airmen are:

I jejich jména zde nalezneme, jsou to:

Panel 10:

BLÁHA Oldřich Dennis, F/O,

Bomb Aimer, 44 Sqn. – † 02/01/44, aged 21, Lancaster, KM-C, W4831, shot down and crashed 30 miles south of Berlin at Luckenwalde whilst on a bombing raid on Berlin. Grave at Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.


Panel 121:

ALBRECHT Josef, Sgt.

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 25, his Wellington N2771, hit barrage balloon at 21:45 and crashed near Bentley Priory, Middx with no survivors. Grave at Harrow [Pinner] New cemetery, London.

Panel 125:

BABÁČEK Pavel Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 20/07/41, aged 26, his Wellington KX-F R1371 shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 30 on the Runnymede Memorial.

BABÍČEK Zdeněk Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 15/09/41, aged 21, his Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. Grave at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

Panel 126:

BAMBUŠEK Jaroslav LAC,

Fitter II E, 311 Sqn – † 04/04/42, aged 28, killed in a motorcycle crash resulting from a bomb explosion in the immediate vicinity. Grave at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

Panel 128:

BAUMRUK Bohuslav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 15/01/41, aged 24, lost in Wellington KX-Y T2519 missing in North Sea following raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 39 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 131:

BINDER František Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 04/03/42, aged 27, His Wellington, Z1147, was on a bombing raid on Emden, Germany, killed during an attack by a Luftwaffe night fighter. During the attack, he was seriously wounded in the head and stomach and died on the return flight from Emden. The Wellington landed safely back at East Wretham and his grave is at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

Panel 132:

BOLFÍK Rudolf Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 15/01/41, aged 27, lost in Wellington KX-Y T2519 missing in North Sea following a bombing raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 39 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 137:

BROŽ Jaromír P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 17/01/42, aged 25, his Wellington, T2971, was on a bombing raid on Bremen, flak above the target damaged the aircraft causing it to crash near Tilburg, Holland. His grave is at Gilzerbaan General cemetery, Tilburg, Holland.


Panel 144:

CIBULKA Josef P/O,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 12/03/42, aged 28, his Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to icing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 68 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 151:

ČTVRTLÍK Jan Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 27/07/41, aged 23, Wellington KX-F R1371 shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 42 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 152:

DANIHELKA Karel Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 26, his Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 81 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 155:

DITTRICH František K. P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 23/10/41, aged 24, his Wellington T2624 crashed into the Irish Sea, off Cardigan Bay, during a training flight. His body was recovered and cremated. After WW2 the urn was repatriated back to Czechoslovakia.

Panel 156:

DOLEJŠ Adolf Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/41, aged 26, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. He is buried at Devizes Road cemetery, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Panel 158:

DUŠEK František Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 25/05/41, aged 20, his Wellington N3010 crashed at the start of a training flight at Langham, Norfolk. His grave is at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

Panel 163:

FÍNA Jiří Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 2/03/42, aged 28, Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to iceing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 83 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 176:

HANZL Vladimír Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 22, Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on a bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 85 on the Runnymede Memorial.

HAPALA Richard P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/41, aged 22, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. He is buried at Devizes Road cemetery, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Panel 179:

HAVLÍK Oldřich Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 14/05/42, aged 25, his Wellington Z1098 was damaged by flak over the target on a bombing raid on Dortmund, on the return flight was shot down by a Luftwaffe Me110 over Holland and crashed near Boshoven, northwest of Weert. He is buried at Woensel General Cemetery, near Eindhoven, Holland.

Panel 180:

HEJNA Jan Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn –  † 23/06/41, aged 26, his Wellington KX-T T2990 returning from a bombing raid on Bremen shot down by night fighter over the North Sea 20 km West of Petten, Holland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 36 on the Runnymede Memorial.

HELMA Oldřich Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/41, aged 25, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. He is buried at Devizes Road cemetery, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Panel 185:

HRADIL Bohuslav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 26, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

HRDINA Josef F/Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 11/04/42, aged 30, his Wellington KX-Z, Z8838, was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter while returning from a bombing raid on Essen. Aircraft crashed 4.5 km east of Kolhorn, Holland. All the crew were killed and initially buried at Middenmeer, Holland, five in a communal grave and one in a separate grave. In 2004 the remains were re-interred at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

HUDEC Josef F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 15/01/41, aged 28, lost in Wellington KX-Y, T2519, missing in the North Sea following a raid on Wilhelmshaven. He is remembered on panel 30 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 187:

HURT Karel Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 23/10/41, aged 24, Wellington T2624 crashed on a training flight into the Irish Sea, off Cardigan, Wales. His body was never recovered and is He is remembered on panel 45 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 188:

JANČA František Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 19, Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on a bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 86 on the Runnymede Memorial.

JANOUŠEK Jiří Sgt,

Air Gunner 311 Sqn – † 16/12/40, aged 23, his Wellington KX-Q, T2577, crashed at East Wretham on take-off for a bombing raid on Mannheim, Germany. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

JANŮJ Otakar Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 23/10/41, aged 28, Wellington T2624 crashed on a training flight into the Irish Sea, off Cardigan, Wales. His body was never recovered and he is remembered on panel 46 on the Runnymede Memorial.

JARNOT Alois Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 15/09/41, aged 23, Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. He is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

JAROŠEK Hubert P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 30, Wellington bomber KX-T, L7844, whilst on a bombing raid to Keil, shot down at 21:25 by a Luftwaffe night fighter. Aircraft crashed at Doornspijk, southwest of Oosterwelde, Holland. He is buried at Oosterwolde General cemetery, Oldebroek, Holland.

Panel 189:

JINDRA Miroslav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 20/07/41, aged 25, Wellington KX-F R1371 shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover, Germany. The aircraft crashed into the Waddenzee, Holland. He is buried at Uithuizermeeden General Cemetery, Holland.

JIRSÁK Otto Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 33, Wellington bomber KX-T, L7844, whilst on a bombing raid to Keil, shot down at 21:25 by a Luftwaffe night fighter. Aircraft crashed at Doornspijk, southwest of Oosterwelde, Holland. He is buried at Oosterwolde General cemetery, Oldebroek, Holland.

Panel 192:

KALENSKÝ Josef F/Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 11/04/42, aged 25, his Wellington KX-Z, Z8838, was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter while returning from a bombing raid on Essen. Aircraft crashed 4.5 km east of Kolhorn, Holland. All the crew were killed and initially buried at Middenmeer, Holland, five in a communal grave and Josef KALENSKÝ in a separate grave. In 2004 the remains were re-interred at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

Panel 195:

KLIMT Karel Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 28, Wellington bomber KX-T, L7844, whilst on a bombing raid to Keil, shot down at 21:25 by a Luftwaffe night fighter. Aircraft crashed at Doornspijk, southwest of Oosterwelde, Holland. He is buried at Oosterwolde General cemetery, Oldebroek, Holland.

KODEŠ Karel Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 11/04/42, aged 21, his Wellington KX-Z, Z8838, was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter while returning from a bombing raid on Essen. Aircraft crashed 4.5 km east of Kolhorn, Holland. All the crew were killed and initially buried at Middenmeer, Holland, Karel KODEŠ and four others in a communal grave and one in a separate grave. In 2004 the remains were re-interred at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

KONŠTACKÝ Vilém P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn. – † 03/06/41, aged 26, Wellington KX-T T2990 returning from a bombing raid on Bremen, Germany, shot down by night fighter over the North Sea 20 km West of Petten, Holland. His body was never recovered and he is remembered on panel 33 on the Runnymede Memorial.

KORMANOVIČ Imrich Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 03/03/42, aged 40, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

KOŠULIČ Václav P/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 17/04/41, aged 25, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

KOTRCH Jan Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 24, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

KOUKOL František Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 01/10/40, aged 25, his Wellington R9649 crashed at Elton, Peterborough during a training flight. He is buried at Eastfield cemetery, Peterborough.

KRÁČMER František Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 17/04/41, aged 24, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

KRÁL Čeněk Vincenc Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 21/01/42, aged 21, his Wellington KX-D DV515 lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 87 on the Runnymede Memorial.

KRÁL Jaromír Oldřich P/O,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. –  † 15/01/41, aged 27, lost in Wellington KX-Y T2519 missing in North Sea following raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 33 on the Runnymede Memorial.

KŘIVDA Jan Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 16/12/40, aged 27, his Wellington KX-Q, T2577, crashed at East Wretham on take-off for a bombing raid on Mannheim, Germany. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

KUBÍČEK Vladimír F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn. –  † 17/04/41, aged 27, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

KUBIZŇÁK Antonín P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 15/01/41, aged 29, lost in Wellington KX-Y T2519 missing in North Sea following raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 30 on the Runnymede Memorial.

KULA Jaroslav F/Lt,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 12/03/42, aged 27, Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to icing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 66 on the Runnymede Memorial.

KUŇKA Karel Sgt,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 25/09/40, aged 27, Wellington L7788 damaged by flak above target, whilst on a bombing raid on Berlin, Germany. Aircraft crashed South of Gravenhage, Holland. He survived the crash but shot himself with a flare pistol rather than be captured. His grave is at The Hague [Westduin] General cemetery, The Hague, Holland.

Panel 196:

LANČÍK [Lanczik] Jaroslav Sgt,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/4, aged 20, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. After WW2 his remains were repatriated back to Czechoslovakia.

LANDA Bohumil P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 43, Wellington bomber KX-T, L7844, whilst on a bombing raid to Keil, shot down at 21:25 by a Luftwaffe night fighter. Aircraft crashed at Doornspijk, southwest of Oosterwelde, Holland. He is buried at Oosterwolde General cemetery, Oldebroek, Holland.

LANG Karel Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 17/10/40, aged 24, his Wellington L7786, crashed near Coddenham, Suffolk, during a training flight. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

Panel 198:

LESKAUER Jindřich P/O

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 15/01/41, aged 23, lost in Wellington KX-Y T2519 missing in the North Sea following a bombing raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 33 on the Runnymede Memorial.


Panel 199:

LIEBOLD Jindřich AC2,

Interpreter, 311 Sqn – † 05/01/41, aged 19, killed in an air raid on East Wretham. He is burie at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

LIFČIC [LIFCZIZ] Rudolf Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 17/04/41, aged 30, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

LINKA Stanislav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 16/11/41, aged 26, Wellington KX-E Z8966 damaged by flak during a bombing raid on Keil, Germany. On return flight crashed in Irish Sea, 20 km South West off St Bees Head, Cumberland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 47 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 204:

MAREŠ Jiří Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 17/07/41, aged 25, his Wellington KX-N, R1718, was shot down at 00:50 by by a Luftwaffe Me110 on a bombing raid to Hamburg, Germany. The Wellington crashed in the Zuiderzee off the island of Ijsselmeer 5km west of Lemmer, Holland. He was killed in the crash and is buried at Lemmer General Cemetery, Lemsterland, Holland.

Panel 205:

MAŠEK Rudolf Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 17/01/42, aged 23, his Wellington, T2971, was on a bombing raid on Bremen, flak above the target damaged the aircraft causing it to crash near Tilburg, Holland. His grave is at Gilzerbaan General cemetery, Tilburg, Holland.

Panel 206:

MATOUŠEK Jaroslav P/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 25, Wellington N2771, hit barrage balloon at 21:45 and crashed near Bentley Priory, Middx with no survivors. Grave at Harrow [Pinner] New cemetery, London.

Panel 212:

MEZNÍK Alois Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 12/03/42, aged 30, Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to icing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 89 on the Runnymede Memorial.

MIKLOŠEK Ján Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 15/09/41, aged 25, Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. Grave at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

Panel 213:

MOHR Josef F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn. – † 02/01/42, aged 29, his Wellington KX-B T2553 lost in the North Sea, off the Dutch coast, following a raid on Wilhelmshaven. He survived the crash but died from exposure in a dinghy during the six days at sea. He is buried at Bergen General Cemetery, Bergen, Holland.

Panel 218:

NĚMEČEK Ladislav Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 21/01/42, aged 24, his Wellington KX-D DV515 lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 90 on the Runnymede Memorial.

NETÍK Václav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 20/07/41, aged 30, Wellington KX-F, R1371, shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover, Germany. He is buried at Oldebroek General cemetery, Oldebroek, Holland.

Panel 223:

PAROLEK Jan František F/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 16/11/41, aged 24, Wellington KX-E Z8966 damaged by flak on a bombing raid on Keil, on return flight crashed in the Irish Sea, 20 km SW off St Bees Head, Cumberland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 30 on the Runnymede Memorial

PARTYK Jaroslav P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 20/07/41, aged 30, Wellington KX-F R1371 shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover. He is buried at Sage War Cemetery, Oldenburg, Germany.

Panel 225:

PEPRNÍČEK Jan Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 11/04/42, aged 22, his Wellington KX-Z, Z8838, was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter while returning from a bombing raid on Essen. Aircraft crashed 4.5 km east of Kolhorn, Holland. All the crew were killed and initially buried at Middenmeer, Holland, five in a communal grave and one in a separate grave. In 2004 the remains were re-interred at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

PETRUCHA Jaroslav Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/41, aged 20, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. He is buried at Devizes Road cemetery, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Panel 227:

PLECITÝ Miroslav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 21/01/42, aged 29, his Wellington KX-D, DV515, lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 75 on the Runnymede Memorial.

PLOCEK Antonín Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/41, aged 29, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. He is buried at Devizes Road cemetery, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

PODIVÍNSKÝ Adolf Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 26, Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on a bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 91 on the Runnymede Memorial.

POLEDNÍK Jaroslav Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/10/41, aged 21, his Wellington T2624 crashed into the Irish Sea, off Cardigan Bay, during a training flight. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 50 on the Runnymede Memorial.

POLITZER Maxmilián Sgt,

Pilot, 138 Sqn – † 10/03/42, aged 22, his Whitley NF-A, Z9125, crashed shortly after take-off from Stradishall airfield on an SOE flight, Operation Frensham I, to occupied France. The aircraft caught fire on crashing, killing five of the crew members. His remains were cremated and the urn returned to Czechoslovakia after WW2.

Panel 229:

RAISKUP František F/Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 12/03/42, aged 28, Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to icing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 92 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 232:

ŘÍHA Ladislav F/Lt,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 25, Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 66 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 235:

ROLENC Jaroslav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 23/10/41, aged 26, his Wellington T2624 crashed on a training flight into the Irish Sea, off Cardigan, Wales. His body was never recovered and is He is remembered on panel 51 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 236:

ROUŠ Stanislav Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 21/01/42, aged 23, his Wellington KX-D DV515 lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 92 on the Runnymede Memorial.

ROZUM Alois Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 23/06/41, aged 28, his Wellington KX-T T2990 returning from a bombing raid on Bremen shot down by night fighter over the North Sea 20 km West of Petten, Holland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 37 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 237:

RYCHNOVSKÝ Karel F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 11/04/42, aged 23, his Wellington KX-Z, Z8838, was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter while returning from a bombing raid on Essen. Aircraft crashed 4.5 km east of Kolhorn, Holland. All the crew were killed and initially buried at Middenmeer, Holland, five in a communal grave and one in a separate grave. In 2004 the remains were re-interred at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

Panel 239:

SEDLÁČEK Mojmír F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 15/09/41, aged 27, his Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. Grave at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

Panel 242:

SIXTA František F/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 17/04/41, aged 27, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

SKALICKÝ Rudolf Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 08/12/41, aged 23, his Wellington KX-B T2553 lost in the North Sea, off the Dutch coast, following a raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 52 on the Runnymede Memorial.

SKOŘEPA Zdeněk F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 24, his Wellington KX-D DV515 lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 66 on the Runnymede Memorial.

SKUTEK Pavel Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. –  † 16/11/41, aged 20, Wellington KX-E Z8966 damaged by flak on a bombing raid on Keil, on return flight crashed in the Irish Sea, 20 km SW off St Bees Head, Cumberland.

SKUTIL Jaroslav P/O,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn –  † 01/10/40, aged 30, his Wellington R9649 crashed at Elton, Peterborough during a training flight. He is buried at Eastfield cemetery, Peterborough.

SLABÝ Jaroslav P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn –  † 16/10/40, aged 25, his Wellington N2771, hit barrage balloon at 21:45 and crashed near Bentley Priory, Middx with no survivors. Grave at Harrow [Pinner] New cemetery, London.

SLOVÁK Josef P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn –  † 01/10/40, aged 28, his Wellington R9649 crashed at Elton, Peterborough during a training flight. He is buried at Eastfield cemetery, Peterborough.

Panel 244:

SMRČEK Leonard P/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn. – † 23/06/41, aged 25, his Wellington KX-T T2990 returning from a bombing raid on Bremen shot down by night fighter over the North Sea 20 km West of Petten, Holland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 34 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 245:

SOUKUP Oldřich Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 12/03/42, aged 21, his Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to icing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 94 on the Runnymede Memorial.

SOUKUP Vilém Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 15/09/41, aged 27, his Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. Grave at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

Panel 246:

ŠPINKA Dobromil Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 22, his Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on a bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 81 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 247:

ŠTĚTKA Václav Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 17/04/41, aged 26, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

Panel 248:

STOČEK Milan Maxmilián Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 25/05/41, aged 22, Wellington N3010 crashed at the start of a training flight at Langham, Norfolk. His grave is at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

Panel 249:

STRACHOŇ Přibyslav Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 22, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

Panel 250:

ŠVIC Miloslav P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 04/06/41, aged 24, his Wellington N3010 crashed at the start of a training flight at Langham, Norfolk. His grave is at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

SVOBODA Jindřich Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 17/01/42, aged 24, his Wellington, T2971, was on a bombing raid on Bremen, flak above the target damaged the aircraft causing it to crash near Tilburg, Holland. His grave is at Gilzerbaan General cemetery, Tilburg, Holland.

SVOBODA Josef Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 30, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

TALÁB Josef Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 14/04/42, aged 33, his Wellington Z1098 was damaged by flak over the target on a bombing raid on Dortmund, on the return flight was shot down by a Luftwaffe Me110 over Holland and crashed near Boshoven, northwest of Weert. He is buried at Woensel General Cemetery, near Eindhoven, Holland.

Panel 254:

TOLAR Alois P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 27, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

TOMÁNEK Josef Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 02/01/42, aged 23, his Wellington KX-B T2553 lost in the North Sea, off the Dutch coast, following a raid on Wilhelmshaven. He survived the crash but died from exposure in a dinghy during the six days at sea. He is remembered on panel 53 at the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 255:

TOŠOVSKÝ Oldřich Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 17/10/40, aged 23, his Wellington L7786, crashed near Coddenham, Suffolk, during a training flight. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

TOUL Jaromír P/O,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 16/12/40, aged 23, his Wellington KX-Q, T2577, crashed at East Wretham on take-off for a bombing raid on Mannheim, Germany. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

Panel 257:

VÁCLAVEK Arnošt Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 16/11/41, aged 24, Wellington KX-E Z8966 damaged by flak during a bombing raid on Keil, Germany. On return flight crashed in Irish Sea, 20 km South West off St Bees Head, Cumberland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 53 on the Runnymede Memorial.

VALACH Karel Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 23/06/41, aged 23, his Wellington KX-T T2990 returning from a bombing raid on Bremen shot down by night fighter over the North Sea 20 km West of Petten, Holland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 37 on the Runnymede Memorial.

VALENTA Arnošt F/Lt,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 31/03/44, aged 31, Captured when the navigator of his Wellington, L7842, became disorientated and landed in error on a Luftwaffe airfield, near Bolougne, France. All the crew were captured and became prisoners of war. He was one of the 76 Allied airmen who participated in the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III PoW camp in Poland. Shortly after he was captured and was one of the 50 Allied airmen who were executed by the Gestapo in reprisal for that escape. His ashes are interred at the Old Garrison Cemetery, Poznan, Poland.

VALEŠ Václav Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 20/07/41, aged 26, his Wellington KX-F R1371 shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 54 on the Runnymede Memorial.

VALOŠEK Oskar Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 01/10/40, aged 24, his Wellington R9649 crashed at Elton, Peterborough during a training flight. He is buried at Eastfield cemetery, Peterborough.

VARJAN Pavel Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 14/04/42, aged 30, his Wellington Z1098 was damaged by flak over the target on a bombing raid on Dortmund, on the return flight was shot down by a Luftwaffe Me110 over Holland and crashed near Boshoven, northwest of Weert. He is buried at Woensel General Cemetery, near Eindhoven, Holland.

VEJRAŽKA Miloslav P/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 17/10/40, aged 29, his Wellington N2773, KX-X, became iced up whilst returning from a bombing mission to Bremen, Germany. Having managed to reach the UK coast, the Captain, Flt/Lt Josef Šnajdr, ordered the crew to bail-out. He landed safely near East Farm, West Willoughby, Grantham, Lincolnshire, but was accidentally shot dead by a member of the Home Guard. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

VESELÝ Jan S/Ldr,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 34, his Wellington N2771, hit barrage balloon at 21:45 and crashed near Bentley Priory, Middx with no survivors. Grave at Harrow [Pinner] New cemetery, London.

Panel 262:

WEISS Karel W/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 21/01/42, aged 32, his Wellington KX-D DV515 lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 73 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Panel 270:

ZAPLETAL František Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 30, his Wellington N2771, hit barrage balloon at 21:45 and crashed near Bentley Priory, Middx with no survivors. Grave at Harrow [Pinner] New cemetery, London.

ZEINERT Stanislav P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 26/05/41, aged 25, his Wellington N3010 crashed at the start of a training flight at Langham, Norfolk. His grave is at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

ZIMMER Antonín P/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 15/09/41, aged 27, his Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. Grave at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

_______________________________________________________________

Visiting Information: Here

Location Information:
Informace pro návštěvníky:

The IBCC is located 2.6 miles to the south of the centre of Lincoln and is close to the villages of Canwick and Bracebridge Heath. Access to the site is from Canwick Avenue B1131. It is recommended from Bracebridge Heath (A15) and turning left into the site.

IBCC se nachází 2,6 míle na jih od centra Lincolnu, nedaleko vesnic Canwick a Bracebridge Heath. Vstup do areálu je z Canwick Avenue na silnici B1131. Doporučujeme vám cestu přes Bracebridge Heath (A15), do areálu odbočíte vlevo.

Address:
Adresa:
International Bomber Command Centre, Cannock Hill, Cannock, Lincoln, LN4 2HQ.
GPS Location:
GPS Lokace:
53°12’49.8″N, 0°31’45.0″W
Map Location:
Umístění na mapě:
View Map Location

_______________________________________________________________

The assistance of Rachel and Peter Sponar-Harrison with this article is very much appreciated.

Velmi si ceníme spolupráce Rachel a Petera Sponar-Harrison při vzniku tohoto článku.




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Josef Balejka – 07.02.2019.






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Czechoslovak airmen in WW2


A collection of eight WW2 news clips about Czechoslovak RAF airmen during WW2. The clips cover Alexander Hess and 310 Sqn at Duxford, President Eduard Beneš at Honnington with 311 Sqn, Karel Kuttelwascher medal award and separate interview, 311 Sqn at East Wretham, in Bomber Command, and in Coastal Command at Beaulieu, with the return to Prague in August 1945.




Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, Ceremony, Not Forgotton | 3 Comments

Jiri Hartman – My D-Day



S/Ldr Jiří Hartman DFC

S/Ldr Jiří Hartman DFC was, at that time a F/Lt with 310 Sqn, and was ‘A’ Flight Commander (Red 1) at the time of D-Day – the Allied invasion of Europe on 6 June 1944. At that time all three Czechoslovak fighter squadrons; 310 Sqn, 312 Sqn and 313 Sqn – the Czechoslovak Wing – were deployed at RAF Apuldram, near Chichester, Sussex. His recollections of that time are:

In early Spring 1944 all the signs pointed to an early invasion of Europe. The fighter squadrons were being concentrated in the South of the country facing the relatively near French coast. Our three squadrons were placed on an emergency air-strip right on the coast, South of Chichester. A nearby hamlet gave it it’s name of ‘Apuldram’. It was a large field on which a wire netting provided a reasonable landing surface. We were accommodated in tents. Everything seemed to be pointing to an early trip across the Channel.

Tented accomodation at Apuldram, June 1944.

Our flying schedule was quite hectic. Apart from the usual escort and cover of bombing missions we were engaged in so-called softening up of German defences. It took several forms, according to the purpose of the target. For example, when attacking communication targets like bridges, railways, stations etc, we carried a single bomb attached under the fuselage which was released in a steep dive. We were briefed that the French population was warned of these attacks and were to1d. not to move about by road or rail during daylight hours in the coastal areas. But in one of these attacks a most tragic accident occurred, for which I had to take responsibility as I was leading the Squadron. We were cruising at about 12,000 feet just inland of the French Coast and looking for targets. I spotted what appeared to be an armoured carrier with a platoon of soldiers. This was one of the usual targets and I ordered the Squadron to prepare for bombing. We began to dive, one section followed the others at short intervals. During the dive, aim was taken by using our normal gun sights, which did to give a clear picture of the target, especially at that height. When reaching 4,OOO feet the bomb was released and our pull out of the dive began. This brought the aircraft much closer to the ground and not using the sights any more the pilot could observe the target. On this occasion, when pulling out of the dive, with bomb already released I realised to my horror that the target was not a German column but a funeral procession. I did not observe the result of the attack but feel there must have been some casualties.

I am sure a lot of similar tragic mistakes happened during the war but to be involved personally gave me a 1ot of sleepless nights despite being assured by everybody that I was not at fault in any way. During similar attacks on railway stations and trains there must have also been innocent casualties although not so obvious.

Another form of attack was low 1evel strafing of targets, such as trains motor transport and German airfields. We flew across the Channel at sea-leve1, hoping to minimise the effectiveness of German defences. One day when the target was an airfield in Normandy I crossed the coast without being shot at and this made me believe I was still undetected. However when over the target and having just opened fire on some dispersed aircraft on the airfield, the German gunners sprang into action and I was flying thru a hail of tracer bullets, which was 1ike flying through coloured rain.

Subconsciously I pushed the throttle forward to go, faster with such force that after landing back at our base my mechanic ca11ed me to show me what he had done to it. The thick steel bar of the throttle was bent and had to be taken to the workshop to be hammered straight. It is amazing how fear can increase one’s strength beyond what is humanly possibility.

These intensive operations had, of course, to be paid for with considerable losses. The three Czech Squadrons had originally only Czech Pilots but by now there were no more Czechs to replace those who were lost and British pilots had to fill the vacancies. There were a few Czechs who were training from scratch in Canada and Rhodesia and these were mainly selected from Czech army personnel but were not sufficient to cover our losses.

Towards the end of May, we had a visit from the Commander-in-Chief of All Forces, General Eisenhower. He delivered a short blood and thunder speech promising nothing but sweat, blood, and casualties. However, I remember him mostly for his strong grip when he shook hands with me on departing. When returning to the camp after an evening out I had a puncture and pulled out the spare wheel from the boot of the car, a piece of coiled wire sprung out and cut my eye. The Squadron doctor advised me next morning to show an eye specialist and arranged an appointment with one at RAF Halton Hospital. There was an airfield adjoining the Hospital so I flew over and saw the doctor who assured me that the injury was not serious and sprayed some liquid in the eye. I returned right away to my aircraft and took off for the return journey. When airborne I suddenly realised that I had little vision in my injured eye and that the other was becoming tired and was closing despite my efforts to keep it open. After a while, I could not open it more than a fraction of a second. Flying practically blind was not easy and I had to recover the aircraft from some unusual positions during the moments when I could see. Fortunately, I spotted a disused airfield below and managed to make a hair-raising landing. When the plane came to a stop after several hefty bumps I sat in it for a few minutes with my eyes shut until I recovered vision in my uninjured eye. I then taxied to the edge of the field and managed to phone my Squadron for transport and a pilot to fly the Spitfire back. The Squadron doctor explained later that the liquid that had been put in my eye was Atrophine which blurred my vision in the injured eye and that the other got tired. On the ground, it presented no difficulties. He proved to be right when he assured me that the injured eye would be healed within two or three days.

I could see that the invasion was imminent. The whole of the South of England was teaming with troops of all nationalities but mainly British and American. Two days before the invasion began we were deployed for convoy duties in the Channel off the Cornish coast. A large fleet of vessels of all sizes and shapes was stretching for miles towards Ireland. There was apparently a days postponement because of bad weather but on the 6th June it was only a litt1e better. Low cloud stretched across the Channel but the visibility was not too bad. (On the evening of the 5th June we had sat outside our tents watching the constant stream of aircraft flying overhead towards France, there were bombers, transport aircraft with paratroops and gliders. Now the show was going ahead.

Our Squadron’s first sortie was to provide cover over the beaches where the British troops were landing. The time was 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. which coincided with the first landing of the British. The Americans began at 6.30 am. About one hour before we were due to take off Group Captain “Sailor” Malan one of the top scoring fighter pilot’s came to visit us. As the overall Commander of several fighter Wings, he was too valuable to risk and was forbidden to f1y on operational sorties. He was however desperately keen to come with us on the first patrol. Knowing of the ban I could not accept his plans but when he apparently made arrangements with the Sergeant and was to fly as my number 2, I turned a blind eye. It did not turn out to be a very clever move on my part, The Group Captain was so determined to see everything that instead. of flying close to me as he was supposed to do he kept on darting away in all directions, I then had to follow him with the who1e squadron in case he ran into some trouble, knowing well that if he got shot down I would be called upon to explain how he happened to be there in the first place.

310 Sqn D-Day Spitfire.

There was very little activity in the air, we had a large number of our planes circling around but there were no German ones in sight.

However, on land and in the sea things were really happening. Our British troops got ashore comparatively easily but on the adjoining sector, I could see the carnage on the beaches. In the sea, there were a number of ships ablaze hit mostly by ground defenses. The spectacle despite its tragic reality was tremendous. Our patrol completed we returned to base and I sighed with relief as I escorted the Group Captain to his car and saw him drive away. I did several more sorties on that and the following day as I didn’t want to miss anything of this momentous operation for which we had waited so long. After the last flight on the second day, I walked over to my tent to wash before going for a late supper. I sat down on my bed and they woke me up the following evening, nearly 24 hours later. I think I was exhausted more mentally than physically.

A few days after D-Day my squadron was detailed to assist the ground for in the British sector by dive bombing a German battery close to their position. As we arrived over the area, the RAF Liaison Officer on the ground, who was to direct us by radio to the target. advised us of the difficulty he had in pinpointing the battery and requested that we land for a detailed briefing. A landing strip was already prepared. We were told by radio that it was about 8OO yards long but due to a heavy shower just before our arrival, part of it was flooded. This left only some 5OO yards on which to land a Spitfire, which was loaded with a bomb and still had nearly all its fuel. Not a task one would undertake every day but in war, things had to be done which normally would seem foolish. Anyway, we all managed to get down safely. Some of the planes ended in a field past the strip but they were undamaged. After several hours of deliberation and still no exact position of the offending battery available – the Germans having craftily stopped firing from it – we were requested to stay the night and try again the next day. Not that we were all that thrilled by the idea. War in the air can be very costly but always seemed to be rather gentlemanly. One does not hear the shooting and does not normally see the dead and injured. So here practically still on the beaches, it was very frightening. From time to time the shells were exploding all around apparently from some distant batteries. Also, the noise of mortar and small-arms fire was deafening. I approached a British Army officer who was sitting on a stool and puffing at his pipe. I asked if there were any trenches for cover as I believed that we ought to be there as we pilots were precious personnel not easily replaceable. Without showing much concern about us and I must admit not even for himself, he pointed to a short distance ahead and said: “I should wait a while before you go there – a mortar just hit the trench and they are clearing out the dead and wounded”. I decided I might just as well be killed in the tents, which had been assigned to us. The small coastal area which was in Allied hands contained a village the name of which I forget. I decided. to explore it and with a few of my fellow pilots we set out to see if we could get some French food and wine. We found the local inn easily but the proprietor was not at all helpful. The British had eaten and drunk everything. My French was still quite fluent in those days and I tried to take advantage of the fact. After a few minutes chatting and having mentioned my service with the French Air Force and being with General De Gaulle in England the patron became much friendlier. On his face I could see the way his conscience was battling – should he safeguard his remaining supplies or show gratitude to an old French pilot. His good nature won in the end. He took; me to his now completely bare cellar but opening a hidden door we entered. another room where a considerable quantity of wine, spirits and some food were stored. I decided not to be greedy and took only enough for our immediate needs but adopted two bottles of old Napoleon brandy to which I was always partial. I offered to pay as in our survival packets we carried some French money. The offer was refused. and the patron, probably regretting his generosity by now, bade me goodbye and good luck with a slightly sad look on his face. I guess he was afraid that I would tell about his cache – but I did not.

Next morning, when I walked to our Spitfires, which were parked on the edge of the landing strip, I was astonished to find them covered with sand. The Germans must have made efforts to destroy them as the vicinity was full of shrapnel holes. However, the sand neutralised the explosive and none of the planes got a direct hit. We brushed the aircraft clean of sand, took-off, carried out our bombarding and returned to England. There we were met on the airstrip by a welcoming party consisting of our Commander-in-Chief, an Air Vice-Marshall and his staff. Apparently, we had been the first Allied squadron to land in France and were being congratulated.

I had to sacrifice my brandy on several rounds of toasts which took place in my tent, after which the Air Vice-Marshall left, on slightly unsteady feet, got in his car and was driven away, back to London. It seems that people in London were not used to drinking genuine, French Napoleon brandy. I must mention another incident which happened about this time. One of the Squadron Commanders, known generally as ‘Hugo’ had been shot down a few days before D-Day and crash-landed in a field, not far from the coast. He managed to avoid being; caught and was hiding on a farm, owned by a friendly Frenchman. A few days after the invasion the farmer assured him that the area was already liberated and Hugo, with his new girlfriend – the farmer’s daughter began marching towards the coast, hoping to find Allied troops and get back to Eng1and. Whilst walking through a small hamlet he encountered a squad of German soldiers who were marching in the opposite direction. Certain that he was in Allied-held territory, he cheerfully ordered the Germans to lay down their arms, saying that it was all- over for them. The Germans obeyed without hesitation and Hugo began to march them in the direction in which he was going. Not long afterwards they met another group of Germans, led by an officer, and during a heated discussion amongst the two parties of Germans, Hugo realised that he was still in enemy occupied territory. In the ensuing confusion, he made himself scarce and, eventually, reached the Allied area and was soon shipped back to England. He came to see us soon afterwards and told us this story which, knowing him well, I believed. In any event, he still had the French girl with him, so parts of his story were true.

During the invasion, our Wing was operating as part of the Tactical Air Command, and was supposed to provide close support from airfields in Europe when the Allied forces had advanced sufficiently inland. For some reason, which was probably political, the Wing was withdrawn from this task and transferred to Strategical Command,. This meant that we had to revert to our previous role of escorting Allied bombers on their daylight raids, deep into enemy territory. This also necessitated our move from the forward airstrip, so a few weeks after D-Day we were on the move again. After a few days on an airfield at Lympne, Kent, then a few weeks at Digby, Lincolnshire, we eventually settled at Bradwell Bay which was to be our home for a few months, at least.

Whilst in Kent our squadron, whilst not on escort duties took part in aiding defense against the V-1 flyinq-bonbs. Our patrols were quite successful and in the short period that we were at Lydd as we managed to shoot down a few of the raiders over the Channel. However, there was also a tragic incident when one of the flying bombs was damaged by one of our pilots but still flew on for a short distance, eventually crashing in the camp killing one airman and injuring several others. I did not agree with the criticism from some of the ground personne1 who said that the pilot should have left it to fly on inland. Maybe it would have caused much more damage if it had reached London.

The stay at Digby was rather uneventful, apart from a slight misunderstanding with the WAAF personnel in the operations room. The building in which it was housed had a flat roof and in the warm summer days, the young ladies who were off-duty used to sunbathe there; dressed very scantily, if at all. As the house was on the approach to the runway a lot of flying was going on which was much lower than necessary. I had to have strong words with my pilots, to avoid complaints from the shy maidens – At that time, the permissive society was not yet with us.

This excerpt from S/Ldr Jiří Hartman DFC autobiography published with the kind permission of Mrs Jennifer Hartman.

Posted in 310 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, Autobiography, Not Forgotton | 1 Comment

Czechoslovak RAF – Remembered 2018


Remembrance / Vzpomínka 2018

Bahamas :

Nassau – Vitezslav BŘÍZA, Jaroslav MAREŠ, Jan HADRÁVEK, Karel SALZ, Josef ŠOTOLA, and Jozef TURNA.

_______________________________________________________________

Belgium :

Ypres – Karel PAVLÍK.

_______________________________________________________________

Czech Republic :

Brno airport

Čejč – František VINDIŠ, František MASAŘÍK.

Dobruška – Miroslav ŠTANDERA.

Humpolec – Josef DYGRÝN.

Koryta – Ladislav NĚMEČEK.

Kosova Hora – MAREŠ-TOMAN.

Kroměříž .

Luka nad Jihlavou – Jaroslav ŘEHOŘ, Jaroslav SOUČEK.

Olomouc

Otaslavice – Josef FRANTIŠEK.

Plzeň.

Plzeň.

Plzeň. – Karel PAVLÍK, Václav ŠINDELÁŘ, Alois ZÁLESKÝ.

Plzeň. – Miroslav ŠTANDERA.

Prague – Prague 1 – Winged Lion.

Prague – Prague 3 -Olšanský hřbitov.

Prague – Prague 5 -Josef BRYKS.

Prague – Prague 6 – Dejvice.

Prague – Prague 17 – František PEŘINA.

Přehořov – Jan VESELÝ.

Toužim – Bedřich HOLZNER.

Třebíč

Vsetin – František VAVŘÍNEK.

Vítová – Oldřich DOLEŽAL.

Vlkoš – Zdeněk VÍTEK.

_______________________________________________________________

Ethopia :

Addis Ababa – Vítězslav ROSÍK.

_______________________________________________________________

France :

Plouézec – Benignus ŠTEFAN.

St Brieuc – Jan JEŘÁBEK, Benignus ŠTEFAN.

St. Valery-en-Caux Franco – František BOUDA, Josef STRÁNSKÝ.

_______________________________________________________________

Germany :

Berlin – Oldřich BLÁHA.

_______________________________________________________________

Slovakia :

Bratislava – Ivan SCHWARZ.

Hrachoviště – Imrich GABLECH.

Lednicke Rovne – Anton VANKO.

_______________________________________________________________

United Kingdom :

Brookwood

Brookwood – Ivan Schwarz.

Dagenham, Essex – František MAREK, Eastbrookend cemetery.

Buckland Tout-Saints, Devon – Václav BOZDĚCH.

Capel le Ferne – National Battle of Britain Memorial.

Duxford

Dyce – Alois DVOŘÁK, Vladimír ZAORAL.

East Wretham

Hawkinge

Honnington – RAF Honnington.

Lincoln – International Bomber Command Centre Memorial.

Market Drayton – Oldřich KESTLER Josef MARTINEC.

North Weald

London – Czech Club.

London – Battle of Britain Memorial.

London – Bomber Command Memorial.

London – Hillingdon – Karel Kuttelwascher.

London – RAF Northolt – Josef František.

London – Northwood.

London – Northwood – Josef František.

London – St Clement Danes.

68 Sqn.

310 Sqn.

311 Sqn.

313 Sqn.

Lowestoft – František HORKÝ.

Runnymede

Southend – František HRADIL.

Tain

Westwell – Josef DYGRÝN.

And not forgetting our Project CzRAF 100 for 2018 where our team of volunteers placed Czech tricolour bouquets at each of the 240 Czechoslovak RAF graves in the UK.




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Brookwood Christmas Remembrance 2018


Following the success of our project to remember the Czechoslovak RAF and soldiers graves at Brookwood for Christmas 2017, we are pleased and proud to confirm that we successfully accomplished this in 2018.

Po úspěšném připomenutí si československých členů RAF a vojáků u hrobů na hřbitově v Brookwoodu o Vánocích 2017, je nám velkou ctí a potěšením oznámit, že se nám podařilo ji zopakovat i o letošních svátcích.

Some of our volunteers visited Brookwood and placed remembrance candles by each of the graves by the Czechoslovak Memorial, the three Czechoslovak RAF graves opposite the RAF building, the graves in the post-WW2 Czechoslovak section and concluding at the Liberator crash communal grave site.

Několik našich dobrovolníků navštívilo Brookwood a zapálili zde svíčky u československého památníku, tří československých hrobů naproti budovy RAF, hrobů v československé poválečné sekci a u společného hrobu obětí havárie Liberatoru.

Many thanks to the generosity of numerous people around the world who kindly donated to this project so that it could realised.

Velké poděkování posíláme všem dárcům z celého světa, kteří přispěli finančními prostředky a podpořili tento projekt.

A big thank you also to our volunteers, without whose help, this remembrance project would not have been achieved.

Velké poděkování také samozřejmě našim dobrovolníkům, bez jejichž práce by se tato vzpomínka nemohla uskutečnit.




Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Not Forgotton | 1 Comment

Alsterufer – 75th anniversary


Alsterufer – 75. výročí

Alsterufer 27.12.1943.

The sinking of the German blockade-runner Alsterufer on 27 December 1943 in the Bay of Biscay by a 311 (Czechoslovak) Sqn Liberator is regarded as the biggest success that the squadron achieved during WW2. Indeed, in the opinion of Dr. Jiří Rajlich of the Military Historical Institute, Prague, who is the leading Czech aviation historian and author on the Czechoslovak RAF with numerous books to his credit on this subject:

“In my opinion it was the biggest single blow planted by the
Czechoslovak Air Force to the Nazi war machine.”

Potopení německého “lamače blokád” “Alsterufer” dne 27. prosince 1943 v Biskajském zálivu letounem Liberator od 311. perutě RAF je považováno za největší úspěch, kterého tato peruť dosáhla během 2. světové války. Dr. Jiří Rajlich z Vojenského historického ústavu v Praze, který je předním českým leteckým historikem a autorem řady knih s tématikou československých letců ve službách RAF, říká:

“Podle mého názoru to byl největší úder, který zasadili českoslovenští
letci RAF válečné mašinérii nacistického Německa.”

So why blockade-runners?
A proč “lamači blokád”?

Prior to the German invasion of Russia – Operation Barbarossa on 22 June 1941 – the Germans had been able to bring the vital raw materials, which were required to keep their war machine rolling, from the Far East by means of trains across Russia. Following Operation Barbarossa, a new method of bringing these raw materials to Germany was now needed. The only option available was by sea and armed merchant ships – known as blockade runners – were used initially.

Před přepadením SSSR německou armádou – „“Operace Barbarossa dne 22. června 1941 – byli Němci schopni získávat strategické primární suroviny nutné k podpoře válečného průmyslu z Dálného Východu, Ruska, přepravou po železnici. „Operace Barbarossa“ to ale ukončila. Bylo nutné nalézt jiné způsoby získávání a přepravy těchto strategických surovin do Německa. Jediným možným řešením se tak stala doprava po moři pomocí ozbrojených obchodních lodí známých jako “lamače blokád”.

Operation Stonewall
Operace Stonewall

The Allies, aware that the only sailing route to France, the nearest access point to German-occupied Europe, was via the South Atlantic and into the Bay of Biscay to one of the French ports and then transported overland to Germany, were determined to prevent these blockade-runners from reaching their destination. They set up Operation Stonewall; an Allied international and inter-service force patrolled the southern approaches to the Bay of Biscay to intercept them. This force was comprised of ships from the Canadian, French, New Zealand, British and United States navies along with long-range aircraft from the Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, and the United States Army Air Force.

Spojenci si byli vědomi toho, že jediná plavební cesta do Francie, která tvořila nejbližší propojení s Němci okupovanou Evropou, je přes jižní Atlantik a Biskajský záliv do některého z francouzských přístavů, odkud bylo zboží a suroviny přepravovány do Německa. Museli proto přijmout rozhodnutí bránit těmto “lamačům blokád”, aby svého cíle dosáhly. Za tím účelem byla ustavena operace “Stonewall”, v níž mezinárodní spojenecké síly ve vzájemné spolupráci hlídkovaly a střežily přístupy do Biskajského zálivu z jižních směrů, aby těmto lodím zabránily proplout. Tyto spojenecké síly byly tvořeny loděmi kanadských, francouzských, novozélandských, britských a amerických námořních sil a letouny dlouhého doletu od Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force a leteckých sil Spojených států.

A signal of 19 December 1943 from the Admiralty “Search for blockade-runners is to have priority over all other air operations” highlights the importance the Allies placed on those patrols.

Rozkaz Admirality z 19. prosince 1943 “Vyhledávání lamačů blokád musí mít přednost před všemi ostatními bojovými operacemi” jenom potvrzuje důležitost, s jakou spojenci přistupovali k tomuto úkolu.

The Alsterufer

Alsterufer.

One of these blockade-runners was the Alsterufer, a 2,729-tonne refrigerated German cargo ship, that had been requisitioned by the German Navy (the Kriegsmarine) and armed so that she could be used in this new role. Her armament comprised of 1 x 75mm, 2 x 37mm, 4 x 20mm and 4 x machine guns. Additionally, the ship was equipped with 4 x PAC (parachute and cable device) rocket-deploying parachutes attached to 300 metre cables, which could be fired into the path of an oncoming aircraft to bring it down.

Jeden z těchto “lamačů blokád” byl Alsterufer, německá nákladní loď o výtlaku 2 729 tun, která byla německým námořnictvem (Kriegsmarine) přezbrojena tak, aby mohla být použita pro toto nové poslání. Její výzbroj tvořily kanony o ráži 1 x 75 mm, 2 x 37 mm, 4 x 20 mm a 4 x kulomety. Navíc byla loď vybavena 4 x PAC (padákové vystřelovací zařízení), s připojeným, 300 m dlouhým závěsným lanem, které mohlo být vystřeleno do cesty proti blížícímu se letounu a způsobit tak jeho havárii.

Her cargo. as she approached the Bay of Biscay. was 344 tonnes of Wolframite, as well as rubber and 200 tonnes of tin ingots. Wolframite is an iron manganese tungstate mineral ore (Fe,Mn)WO4, which was highly valued as the main source of the metal tungsten, a strong and quite dense material with a high melting temperature used primarily in WW2 for armour-piercing ammunition, as well as for hard tungsten carbide machine tools and ball-bearings.

Když se tato loď blížila k Biskajskému zálivu, její náklad tvořilo 344 tun wolframové rudy a také pryž a 200 tun cínových ingotů. Wolframit je minerální ruda s obsahem wolframu, železa a manganu, která byla vysoce ceněna jako hlavní surovina pro výrobu wolframu, těžkého kovu s vysokou teplotou tavení, který byl během 2. svět. války používán zejména jako přísada při výrobě pancéřové oceli, stejně jako rychlořezných nástrojů a kuličkových ložisek.

The Alsterufer was Mastered by Captain Paulus Piatek, a German of Yugoslav origins and an experienced merchant seaman. The ship had sailed from St. Nazaire, France, at midnight on 29 March 1943, escorted by four Kriegsmarine torpedo-boats and two mine-sweepers through the Bay of Biscay, on her voyage to Kobe, Japan. She carried a cargo of torpedoes and naval supplies for the German U-Boat base at Penang and also a cargo for Japan.

“Alsterufer” řídil kapitán Paulus Piatek, Němec jugoslávského původu a zkušený obchodní mořský vlk. Loď vyplula z francouzského St. Nazaire o půlnoci 29. března 1943, doprovázená 4 torpedovkami Kriegsmarine a dvěma minolovkami, přes Biskajský záliv na svoji cestu do Kobe v Japonsku. Vezla náklad torpéd a námořních zásob pro německou ponorkovou základnu v Penangu a také náklad pro Japonsko.

Her departure through the Bay of Biscay and through the South Atlantic was, because of her radio-silence, undetected by the Allies. It was an uneventful voyage and once past the Cape of Good Hope, the Southern tip of Africa, she draped swastika flags over her sides and deck, to provide easy identification to patrolling Japanese aircraft and shipping. She successfully completed her voyage, after stops at Batavia (now Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies on 5 May, Singapore on 29 May, Yokohamaon 5 July, arriving at Kobe the end of July.

Při svém průjezdu Biskajským zálivem a přes jižní Atlantik dodržovala přísný radiový klid a unikla tak pozornosti Spojenců. Její plavba probíhala bez problémů, a jakmile minula mys Dobré naděje, nejjižnější africký výběžek, byla pokryta paluba i boky lodi vlajkami s hákovými kříži kvůli bezpečné identifikaci pro hlídkující japonská letadla a jejich lodě. Plavba dospěla do zdárného konce poté, když se předtím zastavila v Batavii (dnes Jakarta) v holandské východní Indii (5. května), v Singapuru (29. května) a v Yokohamě (5. července), aby do japonského Kobe připlula na konci července.

Homeward bound
Komplikovaný návrat domů

The Alsterufer left Kobe on 4 October and sailed to Kschong, just south of Bangkok, arriving on 18 October. Here, for the next ten days the ship was loaded with tungsten ore and bales of crude rubber.

Alsterufer“ vyplul na zpáteční plavbu z Kobe 4. října a směřoval do Kschongu, jižně od Bangkoku, kam dorazil 18. října. Zde se loď zdržela po dobu 10 dnů, aby mohla být naložena wolframovou rudou a balíky surové gumy.

For their wartime communications, the Germans used ‘Enigma’, an elaborate type-writer style machine that used three code-wheels to encrypt messages between the German command and its military forces. The Kriegsmarine used a more sophisticated version of this machine that used four code-wheels and they believed their messages would be safe from the Allies. However, unknown to the Germans, the Allied code-breakers at Bletchley Park, England, had managed to break this Kriegsmarine Enigma code some months before.

Alsterufer

Během války užívali Němci pro utajenou komunikaci mezi velením a bojovými jednotkami systém “Enigma” – sofistikovaný klávesnicový stroj se třemi šifrovacími rotory. Kriegsmarine používala ještě dokonalejší verzi tohoto stroje se čtyřmi rotory a byli si jisti, že takto šifrované zprávy jsou pro spojence nerozluštitelné. Nicméně Němcům nebylo známo, že se britským kryptoanalytikům v Bletchley Parku v Anglii podařilo před několika měsíci tento kód Kriegsmarine Enigma prolomit.

This enabled the Allies to track the Alsterufer once it had sailed from Kobe, Japan, on its homeward voyage to Brest, France, via Bangkok, Singapore, and Batavia, but as she was crossing the Indian Ocean and approaching the Cape of Good Hope, she ceased all radio transmissions so she would be undetected by the Allies on her voyage around the Cape and through the South Atlantic to the Bay of Biscay. During this part of her voyage she had to have a ten-day lay-up to avoid two Allied convoys. Her radio silence during this part of her voyage meant that the Allies had no knowledge of her whereabouts.

To umožnilo spojencům sledovat “Alsterufer” už když vyrazil z japonského Kobe, a dál při jeho cestě do francouzského Brestu přes Bangkok, Singapur a Batavii, ale jakmile překonal Indický oceán a blížil s k mysu Dobré naděje, začal dodržovat radiový klid, aby nebyl spojenci sledován při cestě kolem mysu a přes jižní Atlantik do Biskajského zálivu. Během této části cesty musel na 10 dnů zastavit, aby se tak vyhnul dvěma spojeneckým konvojům. Přísně dodržovaný radiový klid během této části plavby pak znamenal, že spojenci ztratili povědomost o jeho aktuální poloze.

Alsterufer sighted
Alsterufer prozrazen

On 25 December a radio message, from the Kriegsmarine submarine U-305, that the Alsterufer, under its code name of ‘Trave’, had been sighted by them was intercepted by Bletchley Park – this was to result in the end of the Alsterufer.

Ale 25. prosince byla vyslána radiová zpráva z ponorky Kriegsmarine U-305, že “Alsterufer” pod kódovým jménem “Trave” byl spatřen, a tu zachytili také v Bletchley Park, což znamenalo prozrazení „Alteruferu“ a mělo za následek jeho konec.

Short Sunderland flying boat.
Short Sunderland hydroplán.

Allied forces, including aircraft of 19 Group RAF Coastal Command were placed on standby for several days before 27 December in anticipation of her expected arrival into the Bay of Biscay. The first sighting of the Alsterufer came on the 27 December when two Short Sunderland flying boats, from 201 Sqn ‘T’ and ‘U’, based at Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, were ordered to search for the Alsterufer and then to home in other Allied aircraft and ships onto the target, but not to make a bombing attack themselves without prior permission.

Spojenecké síly, včetně letounů 19. útvaru RAF Pobřežního velitelství, byly v pohotovosti už několik dnů před 27. prosincem v předtuše jeho očekávaného připlutí do Biskajského zálivu. K prvnímu vizuálnímu kontaktu s „Alsteruferem“ došlo 27. prosince, kdy jej objevily dva hydroplány Short Sunderland od 201. Sqn ‘T’ a ‘U’ ze základny v Lough Erne, Severní Irsko, které měly za úkol jej pouze vyhledat a vrátit se zpět, aniž by samy podnikly bombový útok bez předchozího povolení.

F/Lt Leslie Baverstock in ‘T’ for Tare, EJ137, had taken-off at 01:35, from ???, and had reached the search area of 46° 30’N, 18° 00’W at 09:00. At 09:45 he sighted the Alsterufer, at position 46° 40’N, 19° 30’W. She was North East of the Azores, about 850 miles out in the Atlantic, west of Cape Finisterre, Spain, approaching the Bay of Biscay heading towards the safety of the French Port of Brest. This was beyond the range of protection from patrolling Luftwaffe Ju 88 aircraft.

F/Lt Leslie Baverstock v “T” jako Tare, EJ137, vzlétnul v 01:35 hod. a dosáhl oblast vyhledávání 46° 30′ severní šířky a 18° 00′ západní délky v 09:00 hod. V 9:45 spatřil „Alsterufer“ na pozici 46° 40′ s. š., 19° 30′ z. d. Loď byla severozápadně od Azorských ostrovů, asi 850 kilometrů na otevřeném Atlantiku, západně od mysu Finisterre ve Španělsku a blížila se k Biskajskému zálivu, který pro něj představoval záruku bezpečí francouzského přístavu Brest. V tu chvíli se však pohyboval ještě mimo dosah ochrany hlídkujících letadel Luftwaffe Ju 88.

He shadowed the Alsterufer and started homing in ‘U’ and other Allied Sunderlands from 422 and 423 RCAF Sqns. At 11:35, 422 Sqn RCAF Sunderland, “Q” for Queen, arrived and mounted an attack from 1,500 feet. The aircraft overshot the target on the first run but the decks were raked with machine-gun fire. On the second run, two 500 lb M.C. bombs were released from a height of 1,500 ft. with the decks again sprayed with machine-gun fire. Only one explosion was seen and this was some 40 metres short of the ship.

Letoun „T“ dále kontroloval pohyb „Alsterufera“ a inicioval navádění dalších spojeneckých letounů Sunderland od 422. a 423. RCAF Sqns. V 11:35 zaútočil z výšky 1500 stop letoun Sunderland od 422. SQN RCAF. Letoun ale při prvním přiblížení cíl přeletěl, pouze paluby lodi byly poškozeny kulometnou palbou. Při druhém přeletu už to byly dvě 500lb bomby, uvolněné z výšky 1500 stop, a opět kulometná palba, která zasáhla palubu lodi. Byla zaregistrována jediná exploze bomb, a to ve vzdálenosti cca 40 m od boku lodi.

Whilst these attacks had met with resilient flak resistance from the Alsterufer, and had caused no damage, Captain Piatek decided to break radio silence to contact German High Command and requested help for his ship. At 12:00 a signal response was received back on the Alsterufer that help was on its way, assuring him that Kriegsmarine ships and Luftwaffe aircraft would be sent to protect him and he was instructed to divert to the closer French port of Bordeaux.

Zatímco se tyto útoky Spojenců setkaly s houževnatým odporem „Alsteruferu“, aniž by jej významně poškodily, rozhodl se kapitán Piatek přerušit radiový klid, aby informoval německé vrchní velitelství a požádal o pomoc jeho lodi. Ve 12:00 se „Alsterufer“ dočkal odpovědi, že pomoc je na cestě. Lodě Kriegsmarine a letadla Luftwaffe jsou vyslány, aby ho ochránily, a kapitán lodi je požádán, aby stanovil kurz plavby do nejbližšího francouzského přístavu Bordeaux.

Operation Bernau
Operace Bernau

Under the code name of Operation Bernau, the German High Command tried to assist the endangered Alsterufer. The foul weather in the Bay of Biscay prevented the Luftwaffe deploying their maritime 4-engined Focke-Wulf 200C Condors, “Der See Adlers” (“The Sea Eagles) from III./KG 40, which, having a range of some 3556km, had the required range to reach the Alsterufer’s position from their base at Cognac–Châteaubernard airfield, France.

FW 200 Condor

Německá záchranná operace nesla kódové jméno “Operace Bernau”. Špatné počasí v Biskajském zálivu znemožnilo námořním 4motorovým letounům Focke-Wulf 200C Condors, “Der See Adlers” (mořský orel, III. / KG 40), s doletem asi 3550 km, které jediné měly potřebný dolet, aby ze své základny na letišti Cognac – Châteaubernard ve Francii dokázaly nalézt pozici “Alsterufer”..

The German Kriegsmarine however, were able to dispatch their 8th Zerstörerflottile Destroyer flotilla, ‘Narvik’ Class, vessels of 2,584 tonnes armed with 4 x 5.9 inch, 9 anti-aircraft guns, 2 × quadruple 21 inch torpedo tubes and manned by a crew of 332, ( the Z-23, Z-24, Z-27, Z-32, Z-37, T25 and T27) from Bordeaux, and the 4th Torpedobootflotille (Torpedo-Boat flotilla) ‘Elbing’ Class Destroyers (T-22, T-23, T-24, T-26), vessels of 1,294 tonnes armed with 4 x 4.1 inch guns, 5 x anti-aircraft gun, 2 × triple 21 inch torpedo tubes and a crew of 192 from Brest under the command of Korvettenkapitan Franz Kohlauf.

Německá Kriegsmarine však dokázala vyslat také svou 8. flotilu torpedoborců třídy “Narvik”, lodí o výtlaku 2 584 tun, vyzbrojených děly 4 x 5,9 palce, 9 systémy protiletadlových zbraní a dvěma čtyřhlavňovými systémy 21 palcových torpéd s posádkou 332 mužů (Z-23, Z-24, Z-27, Z-32, Z-37, T25 a T27) z přístavu Bordeaux a 4 torpedovky T-22, T-23, T-24, T-26), plavidla o výtlaku 1 294 tun, vyzbrojené kanony 4 x 4,1 palců, 5 x protiletadlovými zbraněmi, 2 x trojhlavňovými 21 palcovými torpédy s posádkou 192 mužů z Brestu, pod velením korvetního kapitána Franze Kohlaufa.

The two flotillas were to rendezvous with the Alsterufer at 10:00 on 28 December at 46°15’N, 11°45’W. and escort her to the safety of Bordeaux.

Během „Operace Bernau“ se podařilo navázat spojení s “Alsteruferem”, aby jej bylo možno navést do bezpečí přístavu Bordeaux. Předpokládané setkání s „Alsteruferem“ se mělo uskutečnit dne 28. prosince v 10:00 na pozici 46° 15 ‘s. š., 11° 45’ z. d.

More attacks
Další útoky

At 12:40, another attack on the Alsterufer was made; Sunderland, ‘U’ for Uncle, EK579 of 201 Sqn, captained by F/Lt T N Stack, dropped a 500lb M.C. bomb from 4,000 feet, but without achieving a hit. At 13:35 ‘U’ received a signal “Stay on patrol until relieved, land Foynes if needed”, F/Lt Stack jettisoned his remaining bomb and depth charges to increase the endurance of his aircraft so that he could shadow the Alsterufer and report its position to incoming Allied aircraft.

Ve 12:40 byl uskutečněn další útok na „Alsterufer“; letoun Sunderland, EK579 z 201. Sqn, kapitán F/Lt T N Stack shodil 500lb M. C. bombu z výšky 4 000 stop, avšak bez zásahu. V 13:35 obdržel tentýž letoun příkaz: “Zůstaňte na hlídce, dokud nebudete vystřídáni, v případě potřeby přistanete ve Foynes.“ F/Lt Stack se zbavil zbývajících bomb a hlubinných náloží, aby mohl déle setrvat v místě a dál „Alsterufer“ sledovat a hlásit jeho pozici blížícím se spojeneckým letounům.

Meanwhile, in ‘T’ for Tare, F/Lt Baverstock, who had been shadowing the Alsterufer in overcast conditions, for some four hours, requested permission to attack. This was only granted after considerable delay. He attacked at 13:45 from 3,000 feet above cloud with two 500 lb M.C. bombs and two 250 lb depth charges, but no hits were observed. Flak from the Alsterufer had damaged the aircraft but it managed to reach the Scilly Islands, at 19:00, with only 60 gallons of fuel left in its tanks.

Mezitím “T”, F/Lt Baverstock také sledoval „Alsterufer“ ze zamračené oblohy po dobu téměř 4 hodin a čekal na povel k útoku. Ten přišel se značným zpožděním. Zaútočil ve 13:45 z výšky 3000 stop z mraků dvěma 500lb bombami a dvěma hlubinnými náložemi o hmotnosti 250 lb. Žádný zásah však zaznamenán nebyl. Dělostřelecká palba z „Alsteruferu“ ale letoun poškodila, přesto se mu podařilo přistát v 19:00 na ostrovech Scilly, když mu zbývalo pouhých 60 galonů paliva.

At 14:43, a Liberator arrived to relieve ‘U’. At 15:10, F/Lt Stack, set course for Foynes, Ireland. As Ireland was a neutral country. landing there would have meant being interned for the remainder of the war. F/Lt Stack managed to reduce his fuel consumption to 90 gallons per hour, leaving him just enough fuel to reach his home base at 21:55.

Ve 14:43 přiletěl na scénu letoun Liberator, aby “vystřídal U”. V 15:10 tak mohl F/Lt Stack nastavit kurz do Foynes, Irsko. Protože však bylo Irsko neutrální zemí, přistání zde by znamenalo, že by byl letoun po zbytek války internován. F/Lt Stack proto zvolil úsporný režim letu se spotřebou paliva 90 galonů/hod., vytvořil si tak rezervu a doletěl až na svou domovskou základnu ve 21:55.

The arrival of 311 Sqn
Závěr v režii 311. perutě

Since May 1942, the squadron had re-deployed from RAF Bomber Command to 19 Group RAF Coastal Command tasked with anti-submarine patrols and shipping strikes in the Bay of Biscay, while still operating its twin-engined Vickers Wellington aircraft. In May 1943, 311 Sqn had been re-deployed to Beaulieu airfield, in Hampshire and during that summer had converted from its Wellingtons to longer range four-engined Liberator B24 aircraft.

Od května 1942 byla tato peruť přemístěna z RAF Velitelství bombardování ke skupině 19. RAF Pobřežního velitelství a její činností bylo protiponorkové hlídkování a útoky proti nepřátelským lodím v Biskajském zálivu. Stále létala na dvoumotorových letounech Vickers Wellington. V květnu 1943 přesídlila 311. peruť na letiště Beaulieu v Hampshire a během následujícího léta se přeškolila na čtyřmotorové Liberatory B24 s delším doletem.

On 27 December 1943, six 311 Sqn Liberators were ordered to patrol the southern area of the Bay of Biscay in search of the Alsterufer. The captains of the six Liberator Mk V aircraft of 311 Sqn were ‘R’ (F/Lt Karel SCHOŘ, ‘G’ (S/Ldr Jan KOSTOHRYZ), ‘H’ (P/O Oldřich DOLEŽAL), ‘J’ (P/O Václav JÍLEK), K’ (F/Sgt Karel KOPAL) and ‘F’ (F/Sgt Josef KUHN). They took off, from Beaulieu, at 08:01, 09:06, 10:16, 10:59 16:43, and 16:49 respectively.

Dne 27. prosince 1943 bylo vysláno šest Liberatorů z 311. perutě do jižní oblasti Biskajského zálivu s úkolem vyhledat „Alsterufer“. Jednalo se o letouny Liberator Mk V, a jejich kapitány byli: “R” (F/Lt Karel SCHOŘ), “G” (S/Ldr Jan KOSTOHRYZ), “H” (P/O Oldřich Doležal), “J” (P/O Václav JÍLEK), ” K” (F/Sgt Karel KOPAL) a “F” (F/Sgt Josef KUHN). Vzlétli postupně z Beaulieu v 08:01, 09:06, 10:16, 10: 59 16:43 a 16:49.

However, the bad Atlantic weather conditions resulted in Liberators ‘R’, ‘G’, ‘K’ and ‘F’ being recalled to base, landing at Beaulieu at 16:06, 18:41, 21:25, 21:23 respectively. Only ‘J’ managed to complete an uneventful patrol, of 1800 nautical miles, returning to Beaulieu at 23:30.

Špatné povětrnostní podmínky nad Atlantikem však vedly k tomu, že Liberatory “R”, “G”, “K” a “F” byly odvolány zpět na základnu v Beaulieu, kde přistály v 16:06, 18:41, 21:25, 21:23. Pouze letounu “J” se podařilo dokončit svůj průzkumný let, avšak bez výsledku, a po cestě 1800 námořních mil přistál v Beaulieu ve 23:30.

‘H’ BZ796

P/O Oldřich Doležal’ the pilot of ‘H’ BZ796, had already completed 53 Coastal Command operational patrols during which he had accumulated 482 flying hours. His crew was Sgt Robert Prochazka – co-pilot; F/O Zdeněk Hanuš – Navigator/Bombardier; W/O Josef Kosek – Air Gunner; F/Sgt Jindřich Hahn – Radar Operator/Air Gunner; F/Sgt Marcel Ludikar – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; F/Sgt Ivan Schwarz – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; and Sgt František Veitl – Flight Engineer, who were his usual aircrew.

P/O Oldřich Doležal, který pilotoval v této misi “H” BZ796, měl za sebou již 53 operačních letů u Pobřežního velitelství, během nichž nalétal 482 letových hodin. Na palubě letounu dále byli Sgt. Robert Procházka – 2. pilot; F/O. Zdeněk Hanuš – navigátor/ bombometčík, W/O. Josef Kosek – palubní střelec, F/Sgt. Jindřich Hahn – obsluha radaru /palubní střelec, F/Sgt. Marcel Ludikar – radiotelegrafista / palubní střelec, F/Sgt. Ivan Schwarz – radiotelegrafista/ palubní střelec a Sgt. František Veitl – letový inženýr, kteří tvořili posádku v tomto obvyklém složení.

Left to right, W/O Josef Kosek,F/Sgt Ivan Schwarz, F/Sgt. Jindřich Hahn, F/Sgt Marcel Ludikar, P/O Oldřich Doležal, F/O Zdeněk Hanuš, Sgt Robert Prochazka, František Veitl.

Prior to ‘H’ being armed and fuelled-up for the patrol, Dolezal had made a special request that he be allowed to choose his own weapons for the patrol. This was approved and ‘H’ was armed with 8 x 60lb rocket projectiles. a 500 lb M.C. (Medium Capacity) bomb and a 250 lb G. P. (General Purpose) bomb.

Ještě předtím, než byl letoun “H” vyzbrojen a natankován pro úkol, který jej čekal, vznesl Doležal zvláštní požadavek, aby mu bylo umožněno přibrat na cestu ještě další výzbroj. Jeho požadavek byl akceptován a “H” tak bylo vyzbrojeno celkem 8 raketovými střelami 60 lb., bombami 500 Ib M.C. (střední kapacita) a bombami 250 lb G. P. (bomba pro všeobecné použití).

Just after five hours into their patrol, at 15:35, flying at an altitude of 3,000 feet and a speed of 200 knots, Hahn, who was on radar operator duty, had picked up an ‘echo’, about 60 miles away, on his ASV5 radar. This was about 200 miles from where the Alsterufer had been sighted by F/Lt Baverstock that morning. At their pre-flight briefing Doležal and his crew had been advised that there were no Allied ships in that area; therefore the ‘echo’ must be the Alsterufer. Doležal homed the Liberator onto the ‘echo’, steadily reducing altitude to 1,000 feet so they were flying just above a thick layer of cloud, whose ceiling was between 600 to 800 feet. The sea was calm and visibility was about 10 miles.

Chvíli poté, kdy byli ve vzduchu už 5 hodin, v 15:35, v letové hladině 3000 stop při rychlosti 200 uzlů, zaznamenala obsluha radaru ASV5 Hahn “echo” (odraz radaru) ve vzdálenoti asi asi 60 mil. Bylo to asi 200 mil od místa, kde „Alsterufer“ viděl ráno F/Lt Baverstock. Během předletové instrukce byli Doležal a jeho posádka informováni, že se v této oblasti nevyskytují žádné spojenecké lodě a tak “echo” musí být „Alsterufer“. Doležal nasměroval letoun na “ozvěnu” a postupně snižoval výšku až na 1000 stop, takže letěli těsně nad hustou vrstvou mraků, jejichž strop byl mezi 600 a 800 stopami. Moře bylo klidné a viditelnost asi 10 mil.

It was now 16:00. On the Alsterufer, still no signal had been received from German High Command or from their promised escort aircraft. It was now obvious to Captain Piatek and those on the Alsterufer bridge, that the aircraft were hours overdue and that something was seriously amiss. Above, through a gap in the clouds, Liberator ‘H’ BZ796 sighted the Alsterufer about half a mile off its port side.

Teď už bylo 16:00. Na „Alsteruferu“ doposud nepřijali žádnou zprávu od německého vrchního velitelství nebo od jejich slibovaného doprovodného letounu. Kapitánu Piatekovi a všem na kapitánském můstku „Alsteruferu“ bylo jasné, že letadlo je nenašlo a začíná být zle. V průrvě mraků pak uviděl Liberator ‘H’ BZ796 „Alsterufera“ na vzdálenost asi půl míle.

Alsterufer sighted.
Alsterufer objeven.

The aircraft, still above the clouds, was approaching it from behind, traveling in an easterly direction. The Liberator approached the ship to make a positive identification and get photographs with their mirror camera, but before they were able to make the identification, the ship commenced firing its anti-aircraft and machine-guns at the Liberator and tried to change its course by 180°, to give the impression of an Allied ship sailing South, in an attempt to evade the aircraft. With the ship giving its identity away, Doležal immediately prepared for his attack. He flew ahead of the ship, and then to starboard, in a banking turn, so that he could circle and attack the Alsterufer amidships.

Liberator, stále nad mraky, se k němu blížil zezadu a letěl východním směrem, aby provedl jednoznačnou identifikaci a pořídil fotografie. Ale než tak mohl učinit, zahájila loď protiletadlovou a kulometnou palbu a snažila se změnit svůj kurz o 180°, aby vyvolala dojem spojenecké lodi, plující na jih, ve snaze letounu se vyhnout. Teď už nebylo pochyb, o koho se jedná, a Doležal se okamžitě připravil na svůj útok. Letěl před lodí a pak stroj stočil na pravobok, pokračoval v oblouku, aby mohl napadnout „Alsterufer“ na jeho střed.

The attack
Útok

Attack diagram.
Schema průběhu útoku.

Still banking, Doležal took the Liberator into a steep dive of 30° through the clouds and came in low, with its bomb doors open, on the starboard side of the Alsterufer. As the Liberator emerged through the clouds the Alsterufer started to fire heavy and light flak combined with machine-guns, and also its PAC rockets at the Liberator. Ludikar, manning the aircraft’s radio, broke radio- silence and transmitted an ‘Operational immediate’ message. At 16:07, still in its banked turn, at an altitude of 800 feet, the Liberator started to fire, in pairs, the first of its eight fuselage-mounted SAP60 semi-armour piercing rocket projectiles to neutralise the ship’s defences: five of which hit the ship above her waterline. Doležal then levelled the aircraft and continued firing pairs of RPs, the last being fired at an altitude of 600 feet. Hanuš, as bomb-aimer, was in the nose of the fuselage. He released its bomb load, of one 250lb and one 500lb bomb, from an altitude of 600 feet and at a range of between 400 yards to 600 yards. The Liberator ended its dive, at an altitude of only 300 feet, flying over the ships mast and the funnel and being rocked by the blast of the exploding bomb as it started to climb away. During the dive and the attack all the Liberator’s machine guns, except the front gun, were firing at the ship.

Doležal, se svým strojem stále v náklonu, se spustil skrze mraky do střemhlavého letu pod úhlem 30 stupňů a otevřenými dveřmi spatřil pravobok „Alsteruferu“. Jakmile Liberator vylétl z mraků, dostal se pod jeho zuřivou protileteckou palbu, kombinovanou s vystřelováním závěsných raket PAC. Ludikar, obsluhující radiový provoz letounu, přerušil radiový klid a vyslal zprávu “Operace zahájena“. V 16:07, stále ještě v náklonu a z výšky 800 stop, začal Doležal vystřelovat dvojice průrazných raket typu SAP60, které byly umístěny na trupu, aby ochromil obranu lodi; pět z nich loď zasáhlo nad čarou jejího ponoru. Doležal pak letadlo vyrovnal a pokračoval v odpalování raket, ty poslední z výšky 600 stop. Hanuš jako bombometčík seděl v přídi letounu. Uvolnil z pumovnice po jedné z 250 a 500librových bomb z výšky 600 stop a ve vzdálenosti 600 a 400 yardů od lodi. Liberator ukončil svůj hloubkový let a ve výšce pouhých 300 stop přeletěl nad stožárem a komínem lodi, a když opouštěl bojiště, byl ještě zhoupnut tlakovou vlnou výbuchu jedné z bomb. Během útoku byl „Alsterufer“ pod neustálou palbou z kulometů palubních střelců s výjimkou toho na přídi.

14:07, 27.12.1943., bomb explodes on the Alsterufer.
14:07, 27.12.1943., exploze bomby na Alsteruferu.

PAC rocket trails at rear of ship.
Stopy zásahů raketami PAC v zadní části lodi.

PAC rocket trails at rear of ship.
Stopy zásahů raketami PAC v zadní části lodi.

During the attack, Kosek, had been virtually hanging out of the beam gun position with a camera and had managed to take a set of 16 dramatic photographs of the attack. Veitl had been holding him around his legs to prevent him from falling out of the aircraft.

Během útoku střelec Kosek doslova visel z otvoru v trupu bombardéru na lafetě kanónu, aby pořídil soubor 16 dramatických snímků útoku. Palubní inženýr Veitl ho při tom držel za nohy, aby nevypadl z letadla.

The attack, which had lasted just 30 seconds, had devastating results with five of the RPs striking the Alsterufer’s stern above its waterline, penetrating the hull. The 250 lb bomb fell 50 yards short of the target but the 500 lb bomb had hit the stern deck, aft of the funnel, smashing through the hatch over no. 4 hold and exploding inside the ship. The ship immediately caught fire and Captain Piatek ordered the crew to abandon ship.

Útok, který trval jen 30 vteřin, měl pro „Alsterufer“ zničující následky, když pět průrazných raket zasáhlo jeho záď nad čarou jeho ponoru a proniklo do trupu. Bomba o hmotnosti 250 lb minula cíl o 50 metrů, ale ta 500librová zasáhla zadní palubu, prorazila ji a explodovala uvnitř lodi. Na lodi okamžitě vzplál požár a kapitán Piatek velel posádce loď opustit.

The Liberator’s crew were uninjured. But with the plane being at the limit of its operational range, and with power loss in the inner starboard engine caused by flak damage, Doležal decided not to linger and headed back to Beaulieu. At 16:15 Ludikar again broke radio-silence and sent a signal reporting that they had attacked and were returning to base because of engine trouble.

Posádka Liberatoru zůstala nezraněna. Ale při zjištění, že je letoun na samé hranici svého doletu a při ztrátě výkonu, způsobeném poškozením pravého vnějšího motoru protileteckou palbou, se Doležal rozhodl nezdržovat se déle na místě a směřovat zpět do Beaulieu. V 16:15 Ludikar opět přerušil radiový klid a vyslal zprávu o provedeném útoku a jejich návratu s poškozeným motorem.

When Ludikar’s message of the successful attacked was received at Beaulieu, the news quickly spread around the airfield and celebrations commenced in the various Messes.

Poté, kdy byla Ludikarova zpráva o úspěšném útoku přijata v Beaulieu, rychle se rozšířila a ve všech koutech letecké základny začaly bujné oslavy.

Liberator ‘H’ landed back at Beaulieu at 21:50, met by a reception committee led by 311’s Commanding Officer, W/Cmdr Vladimír Nedvěd, aircrew colleagues, ground staff and other airbase personnel – all a little drunk from celebrating the success. The patrol had lasted 11.34 hours and had covered 1,800 nautical miles. After a debrief with the squadron’s intelligence officer, Doležal and his crew had a quick meal and then went to their respective messes to join in the celebration.

Liberator ‘H’ se vrátil do Beaulieu v 21:50, kde už ho čekal velitel 311. perutě, W/Cmdr Vladimír Nedvěd, kolegové z ostatních posádek, pozemní i ostatní letecký personál – všichni už se špičkou od slavení úspěchu – aby je přivítali. Jejich let trval celých 11:34 hodin a představoval vzdálenost 1800 námořních mil. Poté, kdy Doležal s celou posádkou podali hlášení zpravodajskému důstojníkovi, krátce pojedli a připojili se ve své jídelně k oslavě s ostatními.

In his de-brief with the squadrons Intelligence Officer, Doležal reported that: “I guess that at the time we saw the ship it was sailing at about 12 – 15 knots. When we started the attack they started to shoot using all their guns. It was pretty bad. I fired our rockets at the ship’s decks. My navigator (who was also the bomb-aimer) did a very good job when he dropped our bombs. We saw how one bomb hit the ship aft of the funnel. Straight away red flames erupted and rose to about 200 metres. At the same moment, there was a big explosion which lifted our aircraft about 200 metres.

Ve svém rozhovoru s důstojníkem zpravodajské služby Doležal uvedl: “Odhaduji, že ve chvíli, kdy jsme loď zpozorovali, plula rychlostí kolem 12 až 15 uzlů. Když jsme zahájili útok, spustil „Alsterufer“ palbu ze všech svých zbraní. Bylo to pěkně ošklivé. Vypálil jsem naše rakety na palubu lodi. Můj navigátor (byl také bombometčík) vykonal svou práci skvěle, když shodil naše bomby přesně. Viděli jsme, jak jedna z bomb zasáhla loď za komínem. Hned potom vyšlehly rudé plameny do výše snad 200 metrů. Ve stejnou chvíli došlo k velkému výbuchu, který náš letoun úplně nadzvednul.

We were flying around for about 5 minutes and watching how the flames spread along the length of the ship. We couldn’t stay longer to observe the outcome of our work because the right inner-engine, which had been damaged in the attack, started to give trouble and we had just enough fuel to get back to base.

Letěli jsme asi 5 minut a sledovali, jak se plameny šíří po celé lodi. Nemohli jsme zůstat déle, abychom sledovali další vývoj, protože pravý vnější motor, který byl při útoku poškozen, začal dělat potíže a my jsme měli paliva právě tak akorát na cestu zpět na základnu.

Halifax GR.Mk.II.

As we were turning for home, Halifax GR.Mk.II ‘Q’ of 502 Sqn, from RAF St David’s arrived on the scene”.

Když jsme se vraceli domů, na scénu dorazil letoun Halifax GR.Mk.II ‘Q’ z 502. perutě RAF ze St David.

PAC rocket trails at rear of ship.
Stopy zásahů raketami PAC v zadní části lodi.

Such was the ferocity of the defending fire from the Alsterufer that it was only back at Beaulieu, when the photographs were developed, did the crew realise that PAC rockets had been used against them and considered themselves very lucky not to have been brought down by them.

Až teprve po návratu v Beaulieu se z vyvolaných fotografií ukázalo, jak houževnatá a zuřivá byla obrana na „Alsterufer“. Posádka si teprve doma uvědomila, že proti nim byly použity závěsné rakety PAC a měli veliké štěstí, že se z žádnou z nich nepotkali.

Later that afternoon, two further attacks, the first by two RAF Liberators, the second by four RAF Halifax heavy bombers, took place in order to sink the stricken ship, but no hits were achieved. This lack of further hits are a good reason to admire Hanus’s achievement even more as, when he dropped the Liberator’s two bombs while his aircraft was flying into heavy flak from the Alsterufer. Despite these deadly distractions, his resolve and determination was not diminished.

Později odpoledne uskutečnili Spojenci další dva útoky, první dvěma RAF Liberatory, druhý čtyřmi těžkými bombardéry Halifax, aby loď potopili, ale loď se zasáhnout nepodařilo. Tento neúspěch útoku na bezvládnou loď ještě více podtrhuje význam Hanušova úspěchu, uvážíme-li, že shazoval svoje bomby ve chvíli, kdy byl jeho letoun pod neustálou palbou z Alsteruferu. Navzdory tomuto smrtelnému nebezpečí si zachoval chladnou hlavu a dokázal se rozhodnout správně.

86 Sqn Liberator GRV.

Later, a 86 Sqn Liberator arrived at the scene and reported that the ship was lying stationary with a heavy list to port and down by the stern. At intervals, further explosions were seen from the sinking blockade-runner, which was emitting clouds of thick black smoke and was enveloped in flames mast high. The crew had abandoned ship and were in four lifeboats about a mile away.

Později přiletěl na scénu ještě Liberator z 86. perutě a hlásil, že loď bezvládně leží na hladině, bez pohybu, s potopenou zádí. Chvílemi bylo možno spatřit další exploze z potápějící se lodi, kterou halil černý dým a šlehající plameny. Posádce se podařilo loď včas opustit a sledovali její zkázu ve čtyřech záchranných člunech asi míli daleko.

Alsterufer ablaze from 86 Sqn Liberator.
Alsterufer v plamenech z paluby Liberatora 86. perutě.

Alsterufer on fire.
Alsterufer v ohni.

Alsterufer on fire.
Alsterufer v ohni.

Two of the Alsterufer’s crew had been killed in the attack. The 74 survivors, who had been attempting to row to Spain in their lifeboats, were picked up four Canadian Navy corvettes; HMCSs Edmunston, Camrose, Snowberry and Lunenburg, on 29 December. During questioning, the Alsterufer’s crew were amazed that the Czech Liberator had flown “unperturbed through the heaviest barrage they could put up”. The Alsterufer’s Yugoslav master, Captain Piatek, said in his broken English, that its pilot was obviously “a cunning old fox for his skilful and determined attack on my ship”.

Z posádky „Alsteruferu“ přišly během útoku o život pouze dvě osoby. Ostatních 74 přeživších, kteří se ve svých záchranných člunech pokoušeli veslovat do Španělska, vzaly 29. prosince na svoje paluby čtyři korvety kanadského námořnictva, HMCS “Edmunston”, “Camrose”, “Snowberry” a “Lunenburg”. Během výslechu se posádka lodi netajila ohromením z toho, že si český Liberator klidně letěl proti takovému nebezpečí, které ho mohlo zničit. Velitel lodi, jugoslávský kapitán Piatek, vyslovil svojí lámanou angličtinou přesvědčení, že pilot letounu musel být “mazanou starou liškou”, když se rozhodl provést útok na jeho loď takovýmto způsobem.

On 28 December, at about 16:00, the listed and blazing Alsterufer finally sank; its position was N 43° 30’, W 18° 50’.

Dne 28. prosince kolem 16:00 se nakonec nehybný a hořící „Alsterufer“ potopil. Jeho poloha byla 43° 30′ s. š. a 18° 50′ z. d.

Awards
Ocenění

Recommendations for awards for the crew were made, with Doležal and Hanuš being awarded an immediate DFC. These were presented at Beaulieu on 7 January 1944, by Air Vice Marshall Sholto-Douglas. A proposal that the remaining crew members should receive the DFM had been objected to, and instead, on 20 January 1944 they were awarded the Czechoslovak Válečný kříž 1939 in recognition of their contribution to the attack. These were presented at Beaulieu by the Chief of the Czechoslovak Air Force, Air-Vice-Marshall Karel Janoušek.

Tento úspěch si vynutil návrhy na vyznamenání členů posádky. Doležal s Hanušem byli navrženi na DFC (Záslužný letecký kříž). Předání vyznamenání se odehrálo v Beaulieu dne 7. ledna 1944 za přítomnosti divizního generála Sholto – Douglase. Proti návrhu, aby i zbývající členové posádky dostali stejné vyznamenání (DFC), byla vznesena námitka, a tak byli odměněni 20. ledna 1944 Československým Válečným křížem roku 1939 jako uznání za jejich příspěvek k úspěchu celé akce. Vyznamenání jim byla předána v Beaulieu náčelníkem československého letectva, divizním generálem Karlem Janouškem.

P/O Oldřich Doležal and F/O Zdeněk Hanuš, Beaulieu, 7.1.1944.

The loss of the Alterufer was a serious blow for the German war machine, but losses incurred in the fight to save this vital cargo of 344 tonnes of Wolfram – enough to cover their needs for about a year – were to increase considerably in the following few hours and highlights the importance that the German High Command placed on its cargo.

Ztráta „Alteruferu“ byla vážným úderem pro německou válečnou mašinérii, avšak ztráty, které vznikly následně při pokusech o záchranu tohoto strategicky důležitého nákladu 344 tun wolframu (dostatečných k tomu, aby pokryly jeho zhruba roční spotřebu), byly v následujících několika hodinách ještě umocněny, a ukazují, co všechno bylo Vrchní velení německé armády ochotno obětovat, aby se tento vzácný náklad dostal do jejich bezpečí.

The Battle of Biscay
Bitva v Biskajském zálivu

Unaware that the Alsterufer, had already been sunk the previous afternoon, the ten Kriegsmarine destroyers sailed onward to the arranged rendezvous point. Admiral Theodor Krancke’s Marinegruppenkommando ‘West’, Commander-in-Chief of Navy Group Command West, who controlled all Kriegsmarine naval vessels in France at his headquartered in Paris, was to learn of the loss of Alsterufer only during the morning of 28 December, when the blockade-runner failed to answer requests for position, and ordered the destroyer flotillas to return.

Nevěda, že “Alsterufer” byl už předchozí odpoledne potopen, vyrazilo deset torpédoborců německého válečného námořnictva na předem dohodnuté místo setkání. Admirál Theodor Krancke, vrchní velitel námořní skupiny “Západ”, který velel všem námořním plavidlům něm. válečného námořnictva ve Francii ze svého velitelství v Paříži, se dozvěděl o ztrátě „Alsteruferu“ až ráno 28. prosince, když “lamač blokád” přestal odpovídat na žádosti o pozici a nařídil, aby se flotila torpédoborců vrátila zpět.

US PBY-1 Liberator.

The rough Atlantic seas severely reduced visibility and hampered the rangefinders and sights for the guns and torpedoes as well as throwing sea-spray over their forward guns that made their operation difficult. But it was already too late; they had been already been spotted by a USAAF PB4Y-1 Liberator aircraft, from the US Navy’s VB-105 squadron, which radioed in their position.

Ale rozbouřený Atlantik výrazně snižoval viditelnost a ztěžoval tak funkci dálkoměrů i mířidel palubních zbraní a torpéd, stejně jako vodní tříšť přes paluby lodí bránila obsluhám v jejich ovládání. Ale stejně už bylo pozdě. Torpédoborce byly spatřeny letounem USAAF PB4Y-1 Liberator ze squadrony VB-105 amerického námořnictva, který oznámil jejich pozici.

HMS Enterprise.

A further 15 PB4Y-1 Liberators from VB-103, VB-105 and VB-110 from Fleet Air Wing 7 of the US Navy, based at Dunkerswell, Devon, were vectored to that position for the attack. From that same information, the British light cruisers HMS Glasgow, 9,100 tons, with twelve 6 in. guns, commanded by Captain C P Clarke, and HMS Enterprise, 7,580 tons, with seven 6 in. guns, commanded by Captain H T W Grant RCN, which were assigned to Operation Stonewall, changed their course to intercept the flotilla. Guided by shadowing Allied aircraft and with the use of their radar, HMS Glasgow and HMS Enterprise, despite effective Kriegsmarine evading action and an attack with guided air-to-surface bombs by a lone Luftwaffe FW200 Condor aircraft, were able to locate the German ships in the early afternoon and commenced their attack.

HMS Glasgow.

A tak mohlo být dalších 15 Liberatorů PB4Y-1 z VB-103, VB-105 a VB-110 ze 7. perutě amerického námořnictva se sídlem v Dunkerswell, Devon, nasměrováno k tomuto místu, aby zaútočily. Informace o místě výskytu německých torpédoborců zachytily také dva lehké křižníky HMS Glasgow (výtlak 9 100 tun, 12 x 6 palcových kanonů), kterému velel kapitán CP Clarke a HMS Enterprise (7 580 tun, 7x 6), s velitelem kapitánem HTW Grantem RCN, které změnily kurz, aby flotilu něm. torpédoborců dostihly. Naváděni a kryti spojeneckými letouny a s použitím svých radarů se HMS Glasgow a HMS Enterprise, navzdory rychle prchající flotile Kriegsmarine a přes útok osamělého letounu Luftwaffe FW200 Condor s řízenými bombami vzduch – země, podařilo německé lodě brzy odpoledne nalézt a mohly tak zahájit svůj útok.

Z type destroyer.

At 13:46 HMS Glasgow was the first to open fire, at a range of 21,400 yds (19,600 metres) at Z27, the nearest ship, followed by HMS Enterprise a few minutes later. The Kriegsmarine destroyers responded with guns and fired a spread of four torpedoes. One of the shells hit HMS Glasgow at 14:05, causing two seamen to be killed, six casualties and some superficial damage to the ship, but all the torpedoes missed. Kapitän Erdmenger, on Z27, the flagship of the flotilla, decided to split his forces and ordered the destroyers Z23, Z27, and T22, with T25 and T26 to reverse course to the north at 14:18. The British cruisers pursued them with HMS Enterprise’s guns crippling Z27, Captained by Captain Günther Schultz. One of her shells hit the destroyer in no. 2 boiler room, severing the starboard main steam line, which forced the evacuation of the boiler room and knocked out the starboard turbine Some 300 of her crew were killed during that engagement. During this time HMS Glasgow was engaging T25.

Jako první zahájil palbu ve 13:46 HMS Glasgow na nejbližší loď Z27 ze vzdálenosti 19 600 m, HMS Enterprise se přidala o pár minut později. Německé torpedoborce odpověděly střelbou ze svých palubních zbraní a vystřelily 4 torpéda; jeden z granátů zasáhl HMS Glasgow ve 14:05, zabil dva námořníky, šest jich zranil a způsobil menší škody na palubě lodi, všechna torpéda cíl minula. Kapitán Erdmenger ze Z27, vlajkové lodi něm. flotily, se rozhodl rozdělit síly a ve 14:18 nařídil torpedoborcům Z23, Z27 a torpedovkám T22 s T25 a T26 obrátit směr na sever. Britské křižníky je pronásledovaly a byla to HMS Enterprise, která ochromila Z27, řízenou kpt. Güntherem Schultzem, když jeden z jejích granátů zasáhl kotelnu č. 2 a vyřadil z činnosti parní turbínu na pravoboku lodi. Během útoku bylo zabito asi 300 mužů posádky. Ve stejnou dobu si křižník HMS Glasgow pro sebe vyhlédl T25.

T type destroyer.

At 14:54 HMS Glasgow’s guns succeeded in making multiple hits on T25, killing the aft torpedo tubes crew, as well as the crews of the quadruple 2 cm gun mount and the 3.7 cm guns. One turbine was knocked out and severed the oil pipes supplying the aft engine room, causing the ship to lose speed. Another hit blew the foremast and the forward funnel overboard and knocked out the electrical power. At 15:10 T25 fired her forward torpedoes without effect. Her captain, Captain von Gartzen, requested that T22 come alongside and rescue his crew, but HMS Glasgow’s intense fire prevented that assistance. Leaving T25 drifting by herself with some hope of restarting one turbine, HMS Glasgow then set her sights on T26, Captained by Kptlt. Quedenfeldt, shortly afterwards.

Ve 14:54 se zbraním na HMS Glasgow podařilo několik zásahů na T25. Usmrcena byla obsluha torpéd na zádi, stejně jako obsluha čtyřhlavňových kanónů (20 mm) a děl (37 mm). Jedna z turbín byla vyřazena z provozu a byla přerušena dodávka oleje pro strojovnu, což způsobilo ztrátu rychlosti lodi. Další zásah zničil přední můstek a přerušil dodávku el. energie. V 15:10 vypálila T25 směrem dopředu torpeda, ale bez účinku. Její velitel, kapitán von Gartzen, požádal sousední torpedovku T22 o záchranu jeho posádky, ale intenzivní střelba z HMS Glasgow to znemožňovala. HMS Glasgow pak zanechal T25 svému osudu s malou nadějí na nastartování druhé turbiny, a svůj zájem začal věnovat hned poté torpedovce T26, jíž velel kapitán Kptlt. Quedenfeldt.

At 16:35 HMS Enterprise reappeared and, despite the sporadic firing from T26’s guns, now nearly out of ammunition, closed to a range of 3,000 yards (2,700 metres), before firing one torpedo that caused T26 to founder at 16:46 with the loss of 85 crewmen. U-505 surfaced and rescued 34 men (on 31 December, a further 62 of her survivors were picked up by the British minesweeper, HMS Seahamon, and taken to Falmouth, UK).

V 16:35 se křižník HMS Enterprise znovu objevil na scéně, a bez ohledu na sporadickou střelbu z T26, která byla už téměř bez munice, vystřelil na vzdálenost 2700 metrů jedno torpedo, které T26 zasáhlo a loď se v 16:46 potopila, včetně 85 členů posádky. Poté vyplula na hladinu německá ponorka U-505, aby zachránila 34 mužů (k 31. prosinci bylo dalších 62 jejích přeživších námořníků převezeno britskou minolovkou HMS Seahamon do Falmouth ve Velké Británii).

On Z27, the effects of the damage began to accumulate and the other boilers began to fail over the next hour or so, as did the feed pumps for the port turbine. Some hours later, while pursuing the scattered German forces, HMS Glasgow spotted the drifting Z27 and closed to point-blank range before sinking her with gunfire at 16:41.

Několik stovek ostatních přeživších ze Z27, T25 a T26 bylo zachráněno irskou obchodní lodí “Kerlogue”, ponorka U-618 zachránila dalších 21 a 6 jich vzaly na své paluby dva španělské torpedoborce Jorge Juan a Sanchez Barcaiztegui.

Several hundred other survivors from Z27, T25 and T26 were rescued by the Irish merchantman Kerlogue, U-618 rescued 21 and 6 were rescued by two Spanish destroyers, the Jorge Juan and Sanchez Barcaiztegui.

Škody na Z27 se po ničivém zásahu začaly navyšovat – přestaly fungovat další kotle stejně jako čerpadla paliva pro turbínu na levoboku. O několik hodin později, pronásledujíce rozptýlené německé síly, spatřil HMS Glasgow bezvládný Z27 a dělostřelbou zblízka jej v 16:41 potopil.

The 142 ft Kerlogue had been 360 miles (580 km) south of Fastnet Rock, on passage from Lisbon to Dublin with a cargo of oranges, when she was circled by a Luftwaffe FW 200 Condor aircraft signaling “SOS” and heading southeast. The Kerlogue Master, Captain Donohue responded to the emergency call and altered course to southeast, whereupon she came upon an appalling scene of devastation: more than 700 men, from the sunken Z27, T25 and T26, most of them dead, were in the water. The Kerlogue spent the next ten hours plucking survivors from the water. 168 were rescued, and four died on board. The cargo of oranges saved the survivors from dehydration. Captain Donohue ignored a German request to bring them to Brest or La Rochelle. He also ignored British radio orders from Land’s End to go to Fishguard. Instead, he proceeded to Cobh, County Cork, Ireland, where the survivors were landed on 1 January 1944 and interned for the duration of the war.

142 stop dlouhý obchodní parník Kerlogue se nacházel 580 km jižně od Fastnet Rock na své cestě z Lisabonu do Dublinu s nákladem pomerančů, když nad ním začal kroužit letoun Luftwaffe FW 200 Condor, který mu signalizoval “SOS” ve směru na jihovýchod. Majitel Kerlogue, kapitán Donohue, na tísňové volání reagoval změnou kurzu na jihovýchod, aby se mu poté naskytla úděsná podívaná; více než 700 těl mužů z potopených Z27, T25 a T26, většina z nich už mrtvých, bylo ve vodě. Posádka Kerlogue strávila dalších deset hodin usilovnou snahou dostat přeživší z vody; podařilo se jich zachránit 168. Čtyři z nich zemřeli na palubě. Náklad pomerančů pak pomohl trosečníkům od dehydratace. Kapitán Donohue ignoroval žádost Německa na jejich převoz do Brestu nebo La Rochelle. Stejně tak ignoroval britský požadavek z Land’s End, aby je převezl do Fishguard. Namísto toho pokračoval v plavbě do Cobh v okrese Cork v Irsku, kde byli zajatci vyloděni dne 1. 1. 1944 a po zbytek války zde internováni.

The Luftwaffe

The Luftwaffe’s maritime patrol unit, Kampfgeschwader 40 (/ KG 40),based at airfields in southwest France, also participated in the anticipated Alsterufer support action on 28 December, and was to suffer its own losses.

Na podpoře mise „Alsterufer“ se podílela také Luftwaffe svojí pobřežní bojovou letkou (KG 40), která byla dislokována na letištích v jihozápadní Francii. Účastnila se podpory dne 28. prosince a utrpěla také vlastní ztráty.

At 06:30 of the 28th, four Fw 200C of III/KG 40, each with a crew of five, took-off from Cognac airfield between 06:36 and 08:00, all equipped with two Henschel Hs 293 anti-shipping radio-controlled glide bombs mounted under their outer wings. Their objective was to intercept the Alsterufer and provide escort to her and her 10 Kreigsmarine destroyers to Bordeaux. Poor weather caused three of the four aircraft to miss the destroyers entirely and only one, sighting its target, HMS Glasgow, at 13:05, attacked at 13:15, with two of the Hs 293: both missed their target due to their bombs being launched in conditions of the low-cloud base. One of these four aircraft, 9/KG 40, captained by Hptm Wilhelm Dette, ditched into the sea on the return flight, the crew subsequently being rescued by HMS Lord Nuffield, an anti-submarine trawler, and brought to the UK, where they became Prisoners of War.

Onoho 28. prosince, po půl sedmé ráno vzlétly z letiště Cognac v rozmezí 6:36 až 8:00 čtyři Fw 200C z III./KG 40, každý s pětičlennou posádkou, všechny vybavené dvěma Henschel Hs 293, radiem řízenými kluznými bombami, zavěšenými pod okraji křídel. Jejich úkolem bylo poskytnout podporu pro „Alsterufer“ a pro flotilu 10 torpédoborců a doprovodit je do Bordeaux. Špatné počasí způsobilo, že tři ze čtyř těchto letounů uskupení německých torpédoborců vůbec nenalezlo a tak jenom jeden z nich objevil ve 13:05 svůj cíl – HMS Glasgow – a zaútočil na něj v 13:15 dvěma bombami Hs 293; obě svůj cíl minuly díky nepříznivým povětrnostním podmínkám. Jeden z těchto čtyř letounů, 9/ KG 40, kapitán Hptm Wilhelm Dette, se při zpáteční cestě zřítil do moře a členové jeho posádky byli následně zachráněni HMS Lord Nuffield, protiponorkovou lodí, a dopraveni do Velké Británie, kde zůstali jako váleční zajatci.

Later that day, between 15:14 and15:45 hrs, 16 He 177 A-3, twin-engined long-range heavy bombers, of II./KG 40, each with a crew of six, had also been dispatched from Bordeaux-Merignac airfield to support the Alsterufer. Weather conditions were still very poor. Aircraft F8+IN (#535557), captained by Hptm Bernhard Eidhoff, was shot down before the attack and six others never engaged the target due to the poor weather. One of these, NN+QY (#535559) suffered an engine failure on the return flight and had to make a forced landing at Merignac airfield, France. The nine that reached HMS Glasgow and HMS Enterprise attempted to attack, all without result.

V době mezi 15:14 až 15: 45 toho dne odstartovalo z letiště Bordeaux – Merignac 16 letounů He 177 A-3, dvoumotorových těžkých bombardérů s dlouhým doletem, každý se šestičlennou posádkou, aby posílily ochranu „Alsteruferu“. Povětrnostní podmínky byly stále velmi špatné a letoun F8+IN (# 535557), řízený kapitánem Hptm Bernhardem Eidhoffem, byl sestřelen a šest dalších strojů svůj cíl kvůli špatnému počasí nenalezlo. Jednoho z nich, NN+QY (# 535559), postihla při zpátečním letu porucha motoru a musel nouzově přistát na letišti Merignac ve Francii. Devět zbývajících, které objevily křižníky HMS Glasgow a HMS Enterprise, se sice pokusily o útok, ale bez úspěchu.

The Losses
Ztráty

German / Německo :

In their attempt to rescue the Alsterufer, during the three-hour battle, the Kriegsmarine had lost three destroyers, four more damaged with 461 sailors killed in the combat. A total of 228 sailors had been rescued from the sea but were now interned in Ireland or England, with only the 55 rescued by U-Boats being returned to France.

Ve snaze zachránit “Alsterufer”, během tříhodinové bitvy ztratila Kriegsmarine tři torpedoborce, další čtyři byly poškozeny a v samotném boji zahynulo 461 námořníků, dalších 228 námořníků bylo z moře zachráněno, ale následně internováno v Irsku a Anglii, a pouze 55 mužů zachránily německé ponorky s jejich návratem do Francie.

The Luftwaffe losses were not so large: 1 Fw 200 Condor lost, its crew of 6 now interned in England, a He 177 A-3 with its crew of six shot down by a Mosquito and lost at sea, and a crashed He 177 A-3 without injuries to its crew.

Ztráty Luftwaffe nebyly tak velké, představovaly 1 letoun Fw 200 Condor a jeho 6člennou posádku, která byla internována v Anglii, a dále letoun He 177 A-3 s jeho 6člennou posádkou, který byl sestřelen letounem Mosquito a zřítil se do moře, a dále havarovaný He 177 A-3 beze ztrát na své posádce.

Allies / Spojenci :

The Allies suffered only light losses in this engagement: PB4Y-1, 6329, of the US Navy crashed at Slippers Stone, Dartmoor, on its return to base at Dunkerswell, there were no survivors from its crew of ten. Naval losses were two seamen killed on HMS Glagow.

Spojenci zaznamenali v této bitvě jen lehké ztráty: plavidla US Navy PB4Y-1 a 6329 se srazila u Slippers Stone, Dartmoor, při svém návratu na základnu u Dunkerswell. 10 námořníků tuto nehodu nepřežilo. Námořní ztráty v boji byli dva námořníci, zabití na HMS Glagow.

The Aftermath
Následky

The loss of the Alsterufer sounded the death knell for surface blockade-runners; three further German blockade-runners were also sunk between 3 and 5 January 1944 by Allies in the South Atlantic. The Germans thereafter ceased all surface blockade running and switched to movement by submarine, known as Yanagi missions. The loss of bulk access to essential war materials was certainly of great importance to Nazi Germany and her Allies and was undoubtedly one of the contributing factors to the ultimate Allied victory.

Ztráta „Alsteruferu“ vyzněla jako umíráček pro “lamače blokád”; tři další německé lodi tohoto typu byly potopeny aliančními silami mezi 3. a 5. lednem 1944 v jižním Atlantiku. Poté Němci zastavili veškerý provoz těchto plavidel a přešli k přepravě pomocí ponorek, známých jako „Yanagi mise“. Ztráta možnosti přepravy strategických válečných surovin “ve velkém” pomocí lodní přepravy, znamenala pro nacistické Německo značné omezení a byla nepochybně důležitým faktorem, který sehrál významnou roli pro konečné vítězství Spojenců.




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Christmas – Vánoce – 2018







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